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A\;-\- «''/. 




so Old Bailey, London 

17 Stanhope Street, GLASGOW 


Warwick House, Fort Street, Bombay 




Edited with Introduction, 
Translation, Notes, etc. 





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o, !SSl f' 

Printed in Great Britain by Blackie & Son, Ltd., Glasgow 

Orain agus Luinneagan 

Gàidhlig le Màiri nighean 

Alasdair Ruaidh 


The scarcity of published Gaelic literature, which is 
one of the chief factors adversely affecting the spoken 
language, is strikingly illustrated by the fact that the 
present book is not only the first edition but even the 
first complete collection of the surviving songs of the 
poetess of Harris and Skye. She is probably the best of 
our minor Gaelic bards, and she has been dead for two 
centuries and a quarter; yet her songs have remained 
scattered in various scarce books, and only four of them 
have hitherto been edited. How much of her works is 
lost to us we can only guess; this book contains all that 
is known to survive. 

Circumstances have constrained me to try to meet 
three needs, the needs of the Gaelic reader, of the Eng- 
lish reader, and of the schools. In special regard to the 
first and last, it may be said that the text has been formed 
on principles stated elsewhere, that the spelling conforms 
to correct modern standards, and that the apostrophe has 
been kept strictly in control. A vocabulary is given, and 
the few points of language that seemed to need discussion 
have received it. The Introduction contains what I 
have been able to gather about the life of the poetess, 
along with some literary matter which is meant to amplify 
what is said about Mary MacLeod in the introduction 
to Bàrdachd Ghàidhlig. 

As regards the translation, the text is perhaps hard 
enough to justify a literal rendering, and such a rendering 


is necessarily in prose; but in any case I am convinced 
that, to convey what is communicable of the spirit of 
the original, prose is preferable to verse, and that the 
best English is the simplest. I hope that the English 
reader will at least gather what Mary is singing about, 
and that, if he abandons any previous misconceptions 
about Celtic gloom and mysticism, he will perceive 
that the original is simple and direct, though he cannot 
hear its melody or appreciate its sincere emotion. 

My grateful thanks are due to all who have helped me 
in this little work; to Miss Heloise Russell-Fergusson, at 
whose suggestion it was undertaken; to the Librarian of 
the National Library of Scotland, and to the Librarian 
of Glasgow University for access to manuscripts in their 
charge; to Mr. Alexander Nicolson, Glasgow, who 
generously lent me, before its publication, his paper on 
Mary MacLeod read before the Gaelic Society of Glasgow, 
so that I could compare my results with his, and who 
was ever ready to aid me in other ways; to Mr. Roderick 
Martin of Obbe, Harris, and to Mr. Iain MacLeod of 
Bernera, Harris, who gave me their local tradition; to 
the Rev. A. E. Robertson (a descendant of Sir Norman 
MacLeod of Bernera), for the photograph which forms 
the frontispiece; and to Mr. Angus Matheson, who in 
reading the entire proof made many valuable suggestions. 
Above all, I am indebted to my father. Professor Watson, 
for the wisest of counsel and the best of help. I need 
not say that none of these shares my responsibility for 
the book's defects. 

Is e m'aon mhiann gum bi an leabhran so mar chloich 
air charn ban-bhàird nan eilean, agus a chum maith 
Gàidhlig na h-Albann. 

J. C. W. 


April, 1934. 


Introduction --------- xi 

List of Abbreviations xxix 

Notes on the Sources ------- xxx 

Table of Sources of the Text ----- xxxi 

Notes on the Maclagan MSS. - - - - -xxxii 

Notes on the Nat. Lib. MS. ------ xxxiv 


*t Pòsadh Mhic Leoid 2 

Mairearad nan Cuireid - - - - - - -12 

Marbhrann do Fhear na Comraich - - - - 14 

^ An Talla am bu Ghnàth le Mac Leoid - - - - 20 

Marbhrann do Iain Garbh ------ 26 

Tuireadh ----32 

^ Luinneag Mhic Leoid -------36 

^ Crònan an Taibh 44 

An t-Eudach -.------50 

Cumha do Mhac Leoid ------ 52 

An Crònan ...-_--- 60 

^t-Fuigheall 72 

Do Mhac Dhomhnaill ------ 76 

^ Oran do Iain mac Shir Tormoid ----- 82 



Songs — 


Marbhrann do Shir Tormod _ _ _ - - 88 

y: Cumha do Shir Tormod ...--- 96 

Lament for Iain Garbh of Raasay ----- 100 

Anonymous Elegy on Sir Norman MacLeod of Bernera, 

FROM Nat. Lib. MS. 102 

General Notes -- 109 

Notes on the Metres ------- 142 

Relevant Dates 145 

Vocabulary - 147 

Index of Persons and Places in the Text - - - iS7 


Information about the life of Mairi nighean Alasdair 
Ruaidh, or Mary MacLeod, is disappointingly scanty, and 
is largely derived from tradition whether recorded by 
John Mackenzie in the Beauties of Gaelic Poetry, or by 
George Henderson in Dàin Iain Ghobha, or still current, 
especially in Harris and Skye. Even a century ago, when 
Mackenzie was collecting, this tradition was vague or, 
as in the dates of her birth and death, erroneous; it is 
still more vague and fragmentary now. Besides this, it 
is occasionally wholly illusory; for the contents or phrase- 
ology of a poem may give rise to a quite mistaken tradition 
of the circumstances of its composition, as in the case of 
the local Loch Ness tradition about the poem Do Mhac 
Dhomhnaill. Luckily, however, Mary's works contain 
enough clear evidence of her period and the circumstances 
of her life to correct and amplify tradition in some respects. 
The account given in the Beauties is briefly as follows: 
She was born in Rodel in Harris,^ the daughter of 
Alexander MacLeod, son of Alasdair Ruadh a descendant 
of the chief of the clan. She does not seem to have com- 
posed poetry until somewhat advanced in life and em- 
ployed as nurse in the chief's household, when her first 
production was a song made to please the children under 
her charge. Some time after the composition of the 
Luinneag do Iain she published a song which so provoked 

^ In 1569, says Mackenzie. 


her patron, MacLeod, that he banished her to Mull, 
under the charge of a relative of his own. During her 
exile there she composed Luinneag Mhic Leoid, and when 
MacLeod heard the song he sent a boat for her, giving 
orders to the crew not to take her on board unless she 
promised that on her return to Skye she would make 
no more songs. To this Mary agreed, and returned to 
Dunvegan Castle. Soon after, on the recovery of the 
Laird's son from illness, Mary composed a song which 
is rather an extraordinary composition, and which in- 
curred the chief's displeasure. To his remonstrance 
against her making songs without his permission she 
replied, " It is not a song, it is only a crònan.'' In a song 
which Mackenzie heard but which was never printed, 
and which ended with an address to " Tormod nan tri 
Tormod ", Mary mentioned that she had nursed five 
lairds of the MacLeods and two of the lairds of Apple- 
cross. She died at the age of 105, and was buried in Harris. 
Mackenzie knew an old man, Alexander MacRae, a tailor 
in Mellen of Gairloch, who sang many of Mary's songs, 
none of which was ever printed, and which he was pre- 
vented from taking down by MacRae 's death in 1833. 
One of them was a rather extraordinary piece, resembling 
MacDonald's Birlinn, and composed when John, son of 
Sir Norman, took her for a sail in a new boat. There 
was another and inferior poetess of the family of Alasdair 
Ruadh, sometimes confused with Mary, and known as 
Fionnghal nighean Alasdair Ruaidh, or Flora MacLeod; 
she was a native of Skye and lived in Trotternish, where 
some of her descendants still were when Mackenzie 
wrote. All that he had heard of her poetry was a satire 
on the Clan Martin and an elegy on MacLeod of 
Dunvegan. Such, then, is Mackenzie's account. 

That Mary was related to the chief of her clan is 
strongly corroborated by present tradition; in Bernera 


of Harris it is even said that Sir Norman's regard for her 
was due to his knowing that her blood was not inferior 
to his own. On one occasion Mary and Sir Norman's 
son Iain fell into a dispute as to which of them was 
more nearly related to the line of the chiefs ; Mary de- 
clared with confidence that in that respect she was no 
whit inferior, perhaps superior, to him and his father, 
which so stung the boy that he begged Sir Norman to 
punish her. " Gabh mo chomhairle, a dheagh mhic," 
ars' esan, " leig le Màiri Ruadh agus na cuir an còrr 
dragha oirre." (" Take my advice, my good son," said 
Sir Norman, " leave Màiri Ruadh alone and don't trouble 
her further.") The interpretation put on this in Bernera 
seems to be that Sir Norman knew that Mary, if pressed 
too far, might disclose what would be better hidden. ^ 
Her father is said to have been called Alasdair Ruadh na 
Droighnich, and those in Harris who gave this informa- 
tion say that he came from Drynoch in Skye — the only 
Drynoch in the Isles. The late Alexander Mackenzie 
says^ that she was the daughter of Alexander second 
son of Norman second son of William fifth chief of 
MacLeod; but this, though stated as a fact, is pure 
conjecture, and is demolished by the date of William's 
death, which occurred in 1405. Descendants of her 
father are or recently were living in Harris; one of them 
still alive gives his own genealogy: Tormod mac Thor- i(*»vii6w- **k 
moid mhic Dhomhnaill mhic Iain mhic Thormoid mhic itA/'.**-,^.!*^ 
Dhornhnaill mhic Neill mhic Alasdair Ruaidh; while a(*''*-'^»-^'' 
woman who died at Obbe in Harris about twenty years ^*5tF!a^ ^ 
ago, named Màiri Ruadh, herself something of a poetess, iC^ ^^Mf ^j. 
was generally known to be descended from or related to 
Mary MacLeod and named after her. 

John Mackenzie, as we have seen, records that she 

' " Màiri Nighean Alasdair Ruaidh ": Trans. Gael. Soc. Invss., Vol. xxii, 
43 ff. 

Hs /*t4 *%..4.-*.--JuL->c^-»^ , S%.), 


was supposed to have died aged 105; present tradition 
says merely that she attained a great age. We know from 
11. 375-8 (Ruairidh mor Mac Leoid nam bratach, Is ann 
'na thigh mor a fhuair mi am macnus), that she was at 
least more than an infant when Sir Roderick Mor died 
in 1626, and the probability is that she was already 
employed in his household. This may well have been 
when she was not more than ten or eleven; and the date 
of her birth is placed tentatively as c. 161 5, perhaps a 
little earlier.^ The date of her death was first shown 
some fifteen years ago ^ to be in or after the year 1705, 
when she composed the marhhrann on Sir Norman of 
Bernera who died on 3rd March of that year. 

We have no reason to doubt the strong tradition that 
she was born in Rodel in Harris, though one or two old 
men claim the isle of Pabbajras her birthplace. It appears 
that she spent part of her childhood in Bracadale in Skye 
(11. 365-8, Uilbhinnis a' chruidh chaisfhinn Far an 
d'fhuair mi gu h-òg m'altrum). When she entered the 
household of Dunvegan in the capacity of bean altruim 
(nurse) we do not know, but the fact is well vouched 
for. With that house she was ever more closely and 
more honourably associated throughout the chiefship 
of Iain Mor (Sir Roderick Mor's son and successor), 
Roderick (Iain's son), Iain Breac (Roderick's brother), 
Roderick (Iain Breac's son), and Norman (Roderick's 
brother); more even than to any of these she was pas- 
sionately devoted to Sir Norman MacLeod of Bernera 
in Harris, the third son of Sir Roderick Mor. Sir Nor- 
man's house, part of which is still standing, was near the 
sea on the north-east side of Bernera, in full view of the 
Sound of Harris, of Rodel with its Tower, of the Minch, 
and the hills of Skye. There remains above its lintel 
a marble slab with the inscription, " Hie natus est illus- 

^ Bàrdachd Ghàidhlig, Introd., p. xzxiv. 



tris ille Normanus MacLeod de Bemeray eques auratus," 
but the date of his birth is unfortunately not given! At 
a short distance from this spot was the house which Sir 
Norman gave to Mary MacLeod, in a place called Tobhta 
nan Craobh, and close beside a great well used by Sir 
Norman and called Tobar mor Mhic Leoid, which is still 
in use. The remains of the house are still to be seen, 
though covered with turf. According to local tradition, 
she was somewhat advanced in life when she went to 
Bernera, and how much time she spent there must remain 
a conjecture; yet it is clear that her connexion with the 
island was a strong one, and it is a possibility worth 
considering that " the land of MacLeod " to which she 
returned at the close of her exile was Bernera and not 
Dunvegan (cf. Fuigjieall, notes). 

We have no exact information as to her position in 
MacLeod's household of Dunvegan during her poetic 
career, yet there can be no doubt that it was one of 
privilege and prestige little if at all inferior to that enjoyed 
in a great household by a trained bard in the preceding 
period. It will be remembered that during the chiefship 
of Iain Breac (1664-93), Mary's younger contemporary, 
an Clàrsair Dall, occupied the position of harper in the 
same " wide mansion ". 

The song ending with an address to " Tormod nan 
tri Tormod " was possibly written after the birth of 
Norman the nineteenth chief, in 1706, the three Normans 
being his father the eighteenth chief, Sir Norman of 
Bernera, and Norman of Harris and Dunvegan, father 
of Sir Roderick Mor. The five " lairds " of the MacLeods 
whom she nursed were, it may be, Roderick the fifteenth 
chief, who was under eighteen when his father died in 
1649; his younger brother Iain Breac; Iain Breac's sons 
Roderick and Norman; and Norman's son Norman. 
The two " lairds " of Applecross, again, we must suppose 

' /^<^^ (O.S A, 


to be Iain Molach, who succeeded his father Roderick 
in 1646, and his eldest son Alexander. 

That Mary was at some time compelled to leave Dun- 
vegan is certain, but it will be noticed that John Mac- 
kenzie does not specify the chief who is alleged to have 
banished her, nor the song which he says offended him. 
Alexander Mackenzie, in the paper mentioned, draws 
attention to the fact that her exile cannot be placed 
earlier than 1660, since the Liiinneag, for example, which 
was composed during her exile, speaks of Sir Tormod, 
and Norman of Bernera was not knighted until the 
Restoration. He concludes that she was exiled by Roderick 
the fifteenth chief, who fell heir in 1649, and died in 1664; 
that she was recalled by Iain Breac; and that the cause of 
her exile was the displeasure of Roderick at her praise 
of his uncle. Sir Norman of Bernera, and his cousin 

In placing Mary's exile after 1660 Alexander Mac- 
kenzie is of course correct; but he gives no proof what- 
ever that it was Roderick the fifteenth chief who exiled 
her and Iain Breac who recalled her. On the contrary, 
the Luinneag belongs to the period of her exile, and 
internal evidence shows that it was composed after 1675 ^ 
nor can any poem belonging to that period be shown to 
be earlier than that date. 

The cause of her banishment is obscure. Two expla- 
nations of it have been mentioned already; a third is 
that of Miss Tolmie, who suggested that it was due to 
fear that her over-praise of the young children of the 
house would bring ill-luck upon them. Perhaps preferable 
to any of these solutions is Mr. Alexander Nicolson's, 
that she was among those dependants who suffered 
expulsion from Dunvegan under the anglified regime of 
Roderick the seventeenth chief, and that she was restored 
"^ BGh., p. 314- 


at the accession of his brother Norman. This is certainly 
in harmony with the tone of Cumha do Mhac Leoid and 
An Crònan. It would place her exile late in life, for 
Roderick succeeded in 1693 and died in 1699. 

Both John and Alexander Mackenzie give Mull as the 
place of her exile; the truth seems rather that she made 
a cuairt. A tradition which is still extant recounts that 
she was at first in Scarba, a barren islet which at present 
contains two families, and this is reinforced by the head- 
ing and contents of the Tuireadh. Besides this, a tradition 
known to Dr. Carmichael and still strong in Harris tells 
us that the poem " Ri fuaim an taibh ", which is called 
Crònan an Taibh, was composed during her exile on the 
isle of Pabba}^in Harris, where Mary's brother Neil, 
MacLeod's factor for St. Kilda, is said to have lived. 
Bard Phabaidh, born a bout i8ia , refers to her in one of «» *?*fe 
his poems: 

Chaidh roimhe ban-Leòdach 

Chur air fògradh do'n kite so; . . ^ 

Rinn i l uinneag an 's crònain t*-**^^ >■-**'<?- *^ o«rv\,^>*\ 

Chur air dòigh ann am bàrdachd ann. J 
Bhiodh i gearan a cluasan 

lomadh uair 's cha bu nàir di e, 
Ag èisdeachd gàirich a' chuain _ ., ^ 

Bha cho cruaidh ris na ^ tàimeanaich. "*^ 

Pabbay is now uninhabited save for two shepherds. The 
evidence of tradition, however, makes it clear that she 
was also in Mull, and v/e can gather with tolerable cer- 
tainty from her own words that this was at the end of 
her exile, and that it was to Mull that the boat came to 
fetch her home; if we read Aros and not àros in 1. 905 
(v. note) it appears that she embarked from that place 
upon her homeward voyage. 

The poetess is still known to tradition as Màiri mhor 

' See also Henderson Leabhar nan Gleann, p. 56. 
(B746) 2 


^ Ml òran ^ ; Duncan Kennedy ^ records that she was known 

<;/ 5* /^-'f^'f^ encomiastically " as Mairi Send, Mary the jewel. She 
'\'?<IL^ used to wear a tartan tonnag (no very distinctive dress), 
and carry a silver-headed staff, and her behaviour in her 
old age must have made a great impression on her con- 
temporaries. She was much given, it is said, to whisky 
and snuff; the presentation to her of a snuff-mull forms 
the provenance of one of her songs. On her deathbed, 
she is said to have composed a song, " Ho ro, gur toigh 
leam an dram. Is lionmhor fear tha an geall air ", an 
interesting reference to which is found in Uilleam Ros, 
Moladh an Uisge-hheatha: 

HÒ to gur toigh leinn drama, 
HÒ ro gur toigh leinn drama, 
HÒ ro gur toigh leinn drama. 
Is iomadh fear tha an geall air. 

Ach tròcair gun d'fhuair a' chailleach 
Bha uair eigin anns na Hearadh; 
Cha mhiosa ni mi do mholadh 
w Ged a lean mi am fonn aic'. 

Thagh i am fonn so is sheinn i cliù dhuit, 6-c. 

In old age Mary met a woman called Mairi Ghobhainn, 
and greeted her: 

Fàilte ort fhein, a Mhàiri Ghobhainn, 
Ged tha thu air fas cho odhar riabhach; 

to which the other Mary replied: 

Tha thu fhein cho lachdunn odhar 
Is ged bhiodh tu fo thodhar bliadhna. 

* Perhaps by confusion with Mary Macpherson. 

- An Laoidheadair Gaelic: Glasgow; ist ed. 1786 (only two copies known 
to exist); 2nd ed. 1836. ^ -, 

* ^U J^tC^ ^*- f-^*^ ^ ^^^-^ ^^"^ -^^"^ U^Sk,j 


She directed that she should be placed face downward 
in the grave — " beul nam breug a chur foidhpe "; her 
burial-place is still known in the south transept of Tùr 
Chliamain, St. Clement's church in Rodel. 

We come now to give some account of Mary's place 
in the history of Scottish Gaelic Literature.^ 

Standing as she does in the period of transition from 
the classic to the modern style of poetry, she has been 
commonly supposed the originator of the latter, to have 
snapped the cramping fetters of syllabic versification 
(which was universal in the classic poetry), and to have 
invented the metre which has been called strophic.^ She 
is, says John Mackenzie, stating a view which later 
writers have elaborated, " the most original of all our 
poets. She borrows nothing. Her thoughts, her verse, 
her rimes are all equally her own." 

These claims were advanced on wrong information as 
to the dates of her birth and death, and are now neces- 
sarily abandoned. In regard particularly to the metre 
which she is alleged to have invented, it has been pointed 
out that this very metre was used by Iain Lom in his 
two earliest poems, one of which was composed before 
1643, earlier than the first poem of certain date ascribed 
to Mary MacLeod. " Of the two, therefore, John Mac- 
Donald has the better claim to originality." 

But behind any attempt to fix on any poet as the 
founder of the modern school lies the idea that during 
the ascendancy of the classic poetry, popular poetry was 
not practised. Such an artificial arrangement cannot 
stand; the two periods overlap. Leaving aside Ossianic 
ballad poetry, we know that, just as poetry was written 
in the classic style long after the modern was fully estab- 
lished, so popular poetry, in stressed metre, was composed 

^ Most of this section is based on BGh. Introd., which should be con- 
sulted. 2 BGh., xliv. 


perhaps as much as a century before Mary's first poem of 
certain date. This poetry survives; but even if it did not, 
it is clearly incredible that until the time of Iain Lorn 
and Mary MacLeod the only poets in existence virere the 
trained bards; and it is only natural to suppose that the 
strophic metre, of which our earliest example is by Iain 
Lom, was among the metres used by the untrained poets of 
that period and had a natural origin long before Iain Lom. 

The last of the learned bards, Domhnall Mac Mhuirich, 
did not die until after 1722; but already in Mary's day 
the bardic schools, along with the social order to which 
they belonged, were in an advanced state of decay. As 
the classic poetry lost its pre-eminence the popular 
poetry invaded its province, and attained a status of 
greater dignity and importance than it had before pos- 
sessed; and here we may make on Mary's behalf a legiti- 
mate claim to originality. Of her sixteen surviving pieces 
four are slight; the remaining twelve are without excep- 
tion laments for or panegyrics upon distinguished mem- 
bers of great houses. We may therefore claim that Mary 
was, so far as we know, the first to write what we may call 
court poetry in popular diction and popular versification. 
That she had few successors in this was due to the pass- 
ing away of the Gaelic polity in which the court poet 

In this aspect of her work we see that she has much 
in common with the trained bards; yet two principal 
points of diff'erence are obvious, and are notable in their 
effect on her successors in vernacular poetry. First, 
lacking their learning, she confines herself more closely 
than they do to the subject and the immediate occasion 
of the panegyric, varying her theme only in a small 
degree with sgeula, poetic history, as they so frequently 
did, and introducing, as they did much less, a strong 
element of personal feeling and emotion, so that she 


is not less lyrist than panegyrist; and second, in contrast 
to the extreme ornateness of classical poetry, the product 
of many years of instruction and practice, her poetry 
bears no sign of having lain long under the file; on the 
contrary its flow is perfectly spontaneous, natural and 
effortless. In the case of a poet of such genius as hers, 
this seldom degenerates into the carelessness of medioc- 
rity; but this spontaneity, encouraged by the ease of the 
rime system in Gaelic, and by the abandonment of the 
varied classic ornamentation, has sometimes in later 
poetry produced a much inferior effect. 

The spirit and atmosphere of Mary MacLeod's pane- 
gyric is on the whole that of the classic poetry. The 
subject of a learned panegyric is praised for his strength, 
his prowess in war and hunt, and his beauty; for his 
noble descent; for his hospitality and generosity, especi- 
ally to poets and harpers; and for his modesty, wisdom, 
and so forth. All these themes are very prominent in 
Mary MacLeod; it is hardly too much to say that, with 
the reservations made above, her matter is that of the 
classic bards expressed in the vernacular. Of Sir Norman 
of Bernera the classic panegyrist says: 

Aiceacht muinte gach mhic òig 
'n a luighe fa lie Thormòid: ^ 

Mary's equivalent is (11. 1118, 11 19): 

Fo bhùird an cistidh 
Chaidh grunnd a' ghliocais. 

A few random examples, which could be largely increased, 
will serve further to show how the same thought often 
lies behind her simple and charming language and the 
stately and sonorous diction of the schools. 

' The examples are taken from those Scottish classic poems which have 
been edited, and in most cases translated, by Professor W. J. Watson. The 
present example is from the Nat. Lib. Elegy on Sir Norman MacLeod of 


(i) The conventional description of the man praised: 

1. 1 80. Bu ghorm laghach do shùil. 
1. 447. Sùil ghorm as glan sealladh. 
Compare: Eoin na rosg ngorm.^ 
1. 454. CÙ1 dualach nan camlùb. 
1. 1045. Air an d'fhàs an cùl dualach 

Is e 'na chuachagan teudbhuidhe. 

1. 1129. Air CÙ1 nan clannfhalt teudbhuidh'. 

Compare: Ciabh fhoUan ghlan ag an ghiolla; ^ 

" Locks thick and bright the youth possesses." 

ciabh na gcuach; ^ 
" clustering locks." 

a fholt mar or; ^ 

" thou with hair like gold." 

Ciabh iongantach na n-òrdhual; 

" wondrous tresses golden and curling." 

1. 179. Bu blireac mindearg do ghnùis. 
1. 449. Gruaidh ruiteach. 

Compare: A ghnuis nach deirge an daoimion ; ^ 

" thou whose countenance is ruddy as the 

a ngruadha datha a ndiaidh a ndonnuidh 

a ngliaidh ar Ghalluibh; * 
" Their cheeks are flushed (? darkened) after 

their embrowning in fray against Saxons." 

a dhonnabhruigh shaoir gun tsal; ^ 

" thou brown-browed noble without spot." 

* Fionnlagh Ruadh to MacGregor. 

2 Unpublished Gaelic Poetry, I, Scottish Gaelic Studies, I, i. 
' Unpub. G. Poetry, II, 5. G. S. I, ii. 

* Unpub. G. Poetry, III, S. G. S. II, i. 
» Unpub. G. Poetry, V, S. G. S. II, ii. 


ar eachtra aigh da dhreich dhuinn; ^ 

" when the brown-faced was on wariike venture." 

a n-deabhaidh ba dian an dreachdhonn; ^ 
" in conflict keen was the brownfaced." 

(2) The description of his character: 

11. 542, 543. An ceudfaidh 's an cliù, 

Am feile is an gnùis nàire. 

11. 1021, 1022. Fìor Leòdach ùr gasda 

Foinnidh beachdail glic fialaidh thu. 

Compare: a ghruaidh ògnàir fhaoilidh ùr; ^ 

" thou of joyous, fresh, young, and shamefast 

ar cheill coinbhirt chèdfuidh chert; ^ 
" such were his wisdom, prowess, understanding, 

(3) His HberaUty, especially to poets, &c.: 

11. 515, 516. Gu talla nan cuach 

Far am biodh tathaich nan truagh dàimheil. 

11. 893, ff. Dun Bheagain . . . 

Anns am freagair luchd-theud 

Bheir greis air gach sgeul buaidh-ghlòireach. 

11. 525 ff. Teach farsaing 's e fial fàilteach. 

Bhiodh teanal nan cliar 
Re tamaill is cian 
Dh'fhios a' bhaile am biodh triall chàirdean. 

I. 751. Gu dun ud nan cliar. 

II. 754 ff. Gu dim turaideach àrd, 

B'e sud innis nam bard 
Is nam filidh ri dan, &c. 

1 Elegy on Donnchadh Dubh; An Deò-Grèine. 

2 Unpub. G. Poetry, IV, S. G. S. II, ii. 

' Elegy on Donnchadh Dubh. 



11. 297 flf. Làmh ... air am bu shuarach an t-òr 

Thoirt a bhuannachd a' cheoil. 

11. 631, 632. A cheann-uidhe luchd-ealaidh 
Is a leannain na feileachd. 

11. 1208, 1209. Gun deach aire air luchd-theud 

An uair sgapadh tu fhèin na crùin. 

Also 11. 1024, 936 ff., 1130 ff., 1210 ff., 1234 ff. 

Compare: chuiris srian fa adh na hAlban 

ag riar dhamh is bhard is bhocht; ^ 

Tig fa gheguibh an chruinn chumhra 
iomad truagh ag teacht fa dhail ; ^ 

" Under the branches of the fragrant tree many 
a man in poor case makes his tryst." 

Da leantar leis lorg na sinnser, 

saoithe aige anfuidh siad; 
bl gach drong don chleir 'na chathruigh, 

da bf onn fein nach athruigh iad ; ^ 

"If he tread in his forefathers' steps, men of 
learning wiU abide with him; in his stronghold 
will be each company of poets, i n number such 
that they hear not their own songs ." 

Tèid GioUa-easbuig an oinigh 

tar fhèin Eòrpa ag conmhail cliar; 

dul tar chach an gach cèim oile, 

budh ghnath da fhreimh roimhe riamh; ^ 

" GioUa-easbuig the generous surpasses Europe's 
warriors in maintaining poet bands; to surpass 
all others in every other step of honour has ever 
been the wont of his line before him." 

Do nitheadh sgela iongnadh d'aithris 
d'Artùr fhial d'aidhche 's do 16; 

beatha da dheoin nior ail d'fhèchuin 
gan chnàimh sgeoil do dhèanamh dhò; ^ 

' Fionnlagh Ruadh to MacGregor. 

" Panegyric on William, son of Sir Norman of Bernera (anon.). 

3 Unpub. G. Poetry, IV, S. G. S. II, ii. 


" Tales of wonder were wont to be told to 
generous Arthur by night and day; of food he 
cared not of his will to taste, unless there were 
made for him matter for a tale." 

Fhuaras mo rogha theach mhòr 
a mbi na cliara ag comhol. . . . 
Do'n gcleir ni cumhang an teach 
giodh cumhang è d'a theaghlach.^ 

" I have found of houses my choice supreme, 
wherein the poet bands use to feast .... To the 
learned the house is not narrow, though narrow 
it be for all its household." 

Nior dhealaigh char leathlom leis; * 

" poets parted not from him half -bare." 

ceann an cheòil; - 
" head of music." 

Mary's metaphor is also in the classic style; an 
example of one kind will suffice: 

1. 183. A lùb abhall nam buadh. 

1. 207. Thuit a' chraobh as a bàrr. 

1. 613. abhall an lios so. 

1. 927. O's craobh de'n abhall phriseil thu. 

Compare: bile Banbha, " Banba's lofty tree." ^ 

ar ccrann fosguidh fineamhna, "he is our shel- 
tering vine." * 
a ghèg tarla fa thoradh, " thou branch laden 

with fruit." * 
a choillbhile is tiogh toradh, " thou forest tree 
thick of fruit." * 

1. 555. Bu tu an t-ubhal thar mios àrdchraoibh. 
Compare: Mac Mhic Cailin cnu os crobhuing, " MacCailin's 
son is the cluster's topmost nut." ^ 

* Fionnlagh Ruadh to MacGregor. ^ Elegy on Donnchadh Dubh. 

» Unpub. G. Poetry, I, 5. G. 5. I, i. * Unpub. G. Poetry, V, S. G. S. II, ii. 
5 Unpub. G. Poetry, IV, S. G. S. II, ii. 


Again, in Crònan an Taihh she follows the common 
usage of the classic bards in placing at the end of a poem 
addressed to a chieftain a few stanzas in praise of the 
chief's lady. 

These correspondences imply, not of course that she 
had read works of the classical school, for we know that 
she was unlettered, but that her times permitted her to 
have a thorough familiarity with its characteristics and 
ways of thought. These she absorbed and made her own; 
and if, despite the vast discrepancy in diction and tech- 
nique, there is to be found in modern poetry any affinity 
with the earlier style, we owe this to Mary MacLeod and 
her contemporaries. 

In Gaelic Scotland, as in Ireland, Mary's period was 
one of very remarkable poetic activity; the Gaelic bards 
between 1645 and 1725, led by Iain Lorn and Mary 
MacLeod, form a group whose style, thought, and out- 
look will bear close comparison, and who are numbered 
at close upon fifty.^ Not all of these of course were 
poets of a very high order, fewer still of the first class; 
but we will agree with Maclean Sinclair when he says: 
" The poetesses who flourished between 1645 and 1725 
were especially remarkable for their talents. I do not 
know where we are to look among our Highland poetesses 
for better composers of songs than Màiri nighean Alasdair 
Ruaidh, Dorothy Brown, Sile na Ceapaich, the Aigean- 
nach, and Mairearad nighean Lachainn." 

This flowering of the genius of a highly-gifted people 
coincided happily with the stage at which the language 
found itself. We find, it is true, two or three English 
words in Mary; yet in the main the vernacular was on 
the one hand unaffected by English, and on the other 
hand was elevated by being applied, in place of the 
literary language, to higher poetic uses than before. It 

* Rev. A. Maclean Sinclair, Gaelic Bards, Trans. G. Soc. Invss., xxiv. 


possessed at that time a perfection of harmony, flexibility, 
lucidity and copiousness, along with a richness and 
purity of idiom, such as some languages never attain, 
and few retain for a prolonged period. For all these 
qualities, which are the true beauties of Gaelic poetry, 
it would be hard to imagine a better model than the 
greater part of Mary MacLeod. 

Though Mary has been eulogized, and rightly so, she 
has never been subjected to literary criticism; and it is 
probably wiser, as it is certainly easier, to let her poetry 
speak for itself. Still it may be worth while to draw 
attention to her chief characteristics. 

Seekers after Celtic Mysticism will not find it here, 
or in any other Gaelic poet. Mary is nothing if not con- 
crete and clean-cut in her ideas and her expression; 
she deals largely with external things, and her feelings 
about them are simple, though intense. She delights in 
manly vigour and beauty, in prowess in war and hunt, 
in singing of festivity and of music. It is highly important 
to remember that her songs were meant not to be printed 
but to be sung. We are to approach her with the ear 
and the heart, and not attempt to judge her poetry as if 
it were meant to appeal to the intellect. It would, then, 
be absurd to try to find in her a *' message " in the shape 
of a philosophy of life; how such a thing can be extracted 
from any Gaelic poet, with the possible exception of 
Dugald Buchanan, it is difficult to see. Mary describes, 
she does not interpret. She is at her best in the poet's 
most frequent mood — ionndrainn, desiderium; but she 
can also be gay, though less often. Her characteristics 
are those of the Gael himself, and her language, as 
observed above, is a perfect type of the language which 
bears so clearly the stamp of the race that speaks it. 
Poetic conceptions and ability to express them in musical 
and artistic verse have ever been characteristic of the 


Gael; but his fancies are never woolly, and his language 
is intolerant of obscurity. Mary MacLeod possesses 
these qualities of thought and language; they have made 
her among her own countrymen one of the best loved of 
poets. " The Gael in his high mood," says Kenneth 
MacLeod, " thinks of Deirdre for beauty, Bride for 
goodness, and Mary MacLeod for song." 

List of Abbreviations 

BGh., Bàrdachd Ghàidhlig: Specimens of Gaelic Poetry; W.J. 

Watson; Stirling, 1932 (2nd ed.). 
Celt. Scot., Celtic Scotland; W. F. Skene; Edinburgh, 1886 (2nd 

CPNS., The History of the Celtic Place-Names of Scotland ; 

W. J. Watson; Edinburgh, 1926. 
D., An Duanaire, a New Collection of Gaelic Songs and 

Poems; Donald Macpherson; Edinburgh, 1868. 
Dinn., Irish-English Dictionary; Rev. P. S. Dinneen; Irish 

Texts Society; Dublin, 1927. 
E., Comh-chruinneachidh Orannaigh Gaidhealach; the Eigg 

Collection; Ranald MacDonald; Edinburgh, 1776. 
GB., The Gaelic Bards from 1411 to 1715; A. Maclean 

Sinclair; Charlottetown, 1890. 
M., The Maclagan Collection of Gaelic Manuscripts, made 

in the latter half of the eighteenth century by the 

Rev. James Maclagan (1728-1805); in the Library 

of Glasgow University. (See Prof. Mackinnon's 

Catalogue, p. 302 fi.). 
MC, MacD. Coll., The MacDonald Collection of Gaelic Poetry; 

Rev. Angus MacDonald and Rev. Archibald Mac- 
Donald; Inverness, 191 1. 
McN., The Manuscript of the Rev. Donald MacNicol (1735- 

1802), for which see Rev. Dr. George Henderson's 

paper in Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness, 

xxvii, 340, whence the text of " Do Mhac Dhomh- 

naill " is taken. 
RC, Reliquiae Celticae; the Rev. Alexander Cameron, ed. 

A. Macbain and J. Kennedy; Inverness, 1892 (I), 

1894 (11). 


S., Cochruinneacha Taoghia de Shaothair nam Bard 

Gaeleach; A. and D. Stewart; Edinburgh, 1804. 
SO., Sar-Obair nam Bard Gaelach: or the Beauties of Gaelic 

Poetry; John Mackenzie; Glasgow, 1841 (ist ed.). 
T., Comhchruinneacha do Dh'Orain Taghta Ghaidhealach; 

Patrick Turner; Edinburgh, 181 3. 
Wardlaw MS., entitled " Polichronicon seu Policratica Tem- 

porum, or, the True Genealogy of the Erasers "; 

Master James Eraser, minister of Wardlaw (Kirkhill), 

begun in 1666, ed. Wm. Mackay for Scottish History 

Society; Edinburgh, 1905. 

Notes on the Sources 

The footnotes on the text do not give all the variations of 
the printed and MS. sources; the omission by any source of 
a line or stanza is not noted save in one or two cases; nor are 
the orthographical minutiae of the MS. versions recorded, as 
this would serve no useful purpose. The simple principle has 
been followed of noting variants only when they seem to 
furnish a clue to the genuine text; and in the formation of 
the text the few departures made on MS. evidence from 
printed versions, when they do not depend on matters of fact, 
as in 11. 840 and 819, depend on the principle that, other things 
being equal, the more unusual word is the less likely to be 

E. and 5. are generally preferable to SO., since the latter 
is to a large extent a work of transcription and has a tendency 
to regularize any unusual feature. In one poem T. has been 
preferred to GB., the version of MC. being printed in full in 
the notes with amended spelling. In four poems the text of 
BGh. has been followed with two or three trivial variations. 

The fusion of different versions has been avoided. 















1 . 1 

1 1 


1 . 1 





















































0^ M 







N cn 







1 1 

, 1 , , 1 

















































































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/dec ^ ^itv* >^ ^<uv4^ 

/U -1«*« 


Notes on the Maclagan MSS. 

Professor Mackinnon in his Catalogue notes that the Mac- 
lagan Collection of MSS. in Glasgow University contains some 
of Mary MacLeod, as well as of many other poets. Those of 
Mary MacLeod are as follows: 

On the sheet numbered i8 is, under the cancelled heading 
" John Roy Stewart's Psalm ", which is actually found on the 
back, a version of the " Fuigheall ". It begins " Theid mi fein 
dhuchas Mhic Leoid/Mo iul air a bhord luath-bhineach/ 'S 
coir dho gu m bi m'eolas san tir/ 'S leontaich mar pill cruadal 
mi/Siula mish siar o yousach nan bian/n'duil gun raibh mian 
toirmalach." It is very corrupt, some of it unmetrical; the 
adjective luath-bhinneach, which does not appear in SO. at 
all, it repeats three times in twenty-five lines, curiously enough. 
It is not worth printing, but in the textual notes are one or 
two of its readings. 

In the booklet numbered 120 is a version of Crònan, headed 
" Crònan na CaUhch Le Mairi Ni'n Alastair Ruaidh ". It is 
again shorter than and inferior to SO., but it contains some 
interesting variants which are noted in their proper place, and 
two of which have been adopted. 

Immediately following the above is a piece entitled " Air 
Bas MhicLeoid, le Nin Alastair Ruaidh ", beginning: 

'S mor mo mhulad 's mi 'm onar 

'S mi 'g amharc nan seol air chuan sgith 

'S mi 'g amharc nan roiseal 

A bha 'g aiseag Mhic Leoid bu mhor pris. 

The poem is printed in S., 396, with the heading " Cumha 
do Mac Leoid, le mnaoi uasail de Chloinn Mhuirich, 'nuair 
bha i 'gamharc bhar mullach beinne ann an Troternis air an 
luing a bha giulan corp Mhic Leoid gu ruig na Hearadh, far 
an robh e gu bhi air adhlacadh." The version of M. is not 
quite so good as S., with which it closely corresponds; it con- 
tains some correct glosses in Gaelic and English on unusual 

In the last verse of S. are the lines: 

Nighean mhaiseach Mhic Dhonuill, 
Leis an d' rugadh a choir ud mar bheus, 

implying that MacLeod was the husband of MacDonald's 
daughter; and the last verse of M., not given in S., is: 

Ach gur sinn' th'air nar ciuradh 

Tha leann-dubh oirn air muchadh nar cleibh 

Mu nar Tigheama Duthcha 

Beith sinn trie air nar 'n urnaigh gu geur 

Ruaraidh mor a bha 'n luingeas 

Fear mor meadhrach 's e macanta treun 

Craobh dhe'n abhall a b'uire 

'S gu do thuit i gun ubhlan gun pheir. 

(See also MC, p. xxviii, where this verse is attributed to 
Mary MacLeod and said to refer to the fifteenth chief, who 
died in 1664.) 

The MacLeod meant is hardly Sir Roderick Mor who died 
in 1626, for he was buried in Fortrose. The poem is almost 
certainly that referred to by John Mackenzie as the work of 
Fionnghal nighean Alasdair Ruaidh; (intro. p. xii). 

In No. 120 is " Do Fhear na Comaruich Le M. Ni'n Alastair 
Ruaidh ". It omits some lines given in the other sources, 
and supplies some not found elsewhere. Two of its readings 
have been adopted; elsewhere it is useful as confirmation of 
S. and 50. 

No. 122 is " Do Mhac Leod, Le ni'n Alaistair Ruaigh ". 
It omits eight of the verses of the text (An TaUa am bu Ghnàth), 
and supplies four not found elsewhere. 

No. 150 (not noticed in Mackinnon's Catalogue) is a version 
of the " Luinneag do Iain ", inferior, curtailed, disordered and 
uninstructive; a few of its readings are noted. 



Notes on the Nat. Lib. MS. 

In Nat. Lib. Gaelic MS. LXV, there is a poem the two halves 
of which, though they follow each other on pp. lo and ii 
and are in the same (" Irish ") hand, Ewen MacLachlan, 
followed by Professor Mackinnon in his Catalogue, regarded 
as two separate poems. These MacLachlan suggested were 
by Mary MacLeod, a suggestion which Professor Mackinnon 
notes. The poem begins " Nach truadh leibh na scela so deist 
mi didomhnz«'c/z/Co rabh agum re fhaoighnacht acht an fhoill 
a rinn hobron/Bris na gaill ar a cheile s chaidh ratreit ar an 
ordu/S dfag iad sios mac illeadhain a cur a chatha na onracht "; 
it is another version of the poem printed in E., p. 178 fE., 
under the heading " Oran a roinnidh d' Echin Ruagh nu n 
Cath mharbhidh la Inbhir Cithnis ar fonn a la Raon Ruari ", 
considerably less complete and no doubt corrupt but throwing 
some light on the difficult spelling of E. The subject is the 
well-known episode of the death of Sir Hector Maclean of 
Duart and nearly all his followers at the battle at Inverkeithing 
in 1 65 1. The poem is said by J. P. Maclean in his History of 
the Clan MacLean to be well known to the generality of 
MacLeans. There is a better version than either E. or MS. 
LXV in Maclean Sinclair's "Gaelic Bards, 141 1 to 1715 ", 
p. 50, under the title Blar Inbhircheitain (Inbhir Cheitean 
being the correct form for Inverkeithing); and as the style 
is not Mary's and the subject not appropriate, Maclean Sinclair 
is no doubt right in there attributing it to the proper Maclean 
bard, Eachann Bacach. 

On p. 63 of the same MS. is another piece which MacLacUan 
suggested might be Mary's. It begins " Ta oigra s tir is urraimid 
gniomh/len oilte fion gu sarphailte/Ta oigr' air athlean is eife- 
achtuidh caint/na ceadan na cheann air chascanibh/Ta oighr' air 
an luib air a staighleadh gu hur/gach tighearna an dlus cairdios 
duit." It is addressed to MacAllister of Loup in Kintyre, to 
whom there is another in RC. (II. 345), &c., printed in BGh., 
and it is certainly not Mary's. 

Thus, so far as is known, there is nothing of Mary MacLeod 
in Edinburgh that has not been printed. 


Pòsadh Mhic Leoid 

Conaltradh eadar Màiri nighean Alasdair 
Ruaidh agus Nic Dhomhnaill a Trondaimis. 

H6 lail oho 
Hòireann 6} 


A Mhairearad chridhe 
Nic an Tòisich, 

Is bliadhna an t-seachdain 
O na phòs thu; 

Is ann gu d' bhaile 
Thriall am mor shluagh: 

Thriall Mac Coinnich 
Le Mac Leoid ann: 

Thriall Mac Fhionghain 
Ann 's Mac Dhomhnaill. 


An cluinn thu, Mhàiri 
So na ceil orm: 

Ciodh i an long ud 
Seach an eirthir? 

'Aithris 8o an deidh gach rainn. 

The Wedding of MacLeod 

Conversation between Mary daughter of 

Alasdair the Red and MacDonald's Lady 

from Trotternish. 

Ho lail oho hoireann o. 


Margery, my dear, 
Margery Mackintosh, 

'Tis a year this week 
since thou wert wedded; 

Then to thine homestead 
went the great folk, 

Mackenzie went there, 
and MacLeod, 

Mackinnon went there, 
and MacDonald. 


Listen, Mary, 

hide not this from me: 

What is yon ship 
off the coastland? 

* This is repeated after each line; 



Don-faighneachd ort! 15 

Cuime an ceilinn? 

Ciodh i tha sud ach 
Long mo leinibh? 

Tobar fiona 

Shìos 'na deireadh, ao 

Is tobar fior-uisg' 
'Na ceann eile. 

Shìn i taobh ri 
Long Mhic Coinnich, 

Chuir i bòrd à 25 

Long an Eilein. 

Don-faighneachd ort! 
Cuim' nach innsinn? 

Ciodh i sud ach 

Long nan rìghrean, 30 

Air an seinnear 
Na trì pìoban: 

Ruairidh òg Mac 
Leoid nam pìosan: 

Guala dheas mu'n 35 

ladh an sioda: 

Guala thoisgeal 
Mu'n iadh na mìltean. 

Dhìreadh mo leanabh 

MuUach mhòirbheann, 40 



Plague on thine asking! 
why should I hide it? 

What is yonder but 

the ship of my little one? — 

A well of wine 
down in her stern, 

A well of sweet water 
in her stem. 

She hath drawn alongside 
Mackenzie's ship, 

She hath outsailed 
the ship of the Isle. 

Plague on thine asking! 
why should I tell it not? 

What is yonder 
but the ship of kings 

Whereon are played 
the three pipes? — 

Roderick, young 
MacLeod of silver cups, 

His right shoulder 
silk encompasseth. 

His left shoulder 
thousands encompass. 

My darling would ascend 
the summit of high peaks; 


Pìob 'ga spreigeadh 
Leat 'san tòrachd: 

Claidheamhna geala 
Dhèanadh feòlach: 

Targaidean donna 45 

Tollta stròicte. 

A Ruairidh Ruairidh 
Ruairidh an Dùin ud, 

Is tù mo mhire 

Is mo cheòl sùgraidh: 50 

Is tù mo phaidirean, 
Mo chìr-chùil thu: 

Mo ghàradh mheas 
Am bi na h-ùbhlan. 

Càite a bheil 55 

A h-aon riut coltach, 

O nach maireann 
Fionn no Oisean, 

Diarmaid donn no 

GoU no Osgar? 60 

Mi 'nam shuidh 

Air chaolas rònach c^ ^C j' ^tl 

M'aghaidh air Hirt 
Nan ian gorma; 

Thàinig bleidean, 65 

Bleidean leòmach, 

D'fharraid dhìomsa, 
Le càil chomhraidh, 

62. 'Chaolas-rònach, D.\ shligeadh, D. 


With thee the pipe 

briskly playing in the pursuit, 

Bright sword-blades 
that would make carnage, 

Brown targes 
pierced and shattered. 

Roderick, Roderick, 
Roderick of yonder dun, 

Thou art my mirth 
and my merry music. 

Thou art my rosary 

and the comb of my hair. 

Thou art my fruit-garden 
wherein are apples. 

Where is the one 
like unto thee, 

Since Finn liveth not 
nor Ossian, 

Brown Diarmaid nor 
GoU nor Oscar,? 

As I sat 

above a seal-haunted strait, 

Looking toward Hirt * 
of blue birds, 

Came a wheedler, 
a saucy wheedler. 

And wishing to gossip 
asked of me 


Ciod e bu bheus 

Do shìol Leoid ud. 70 

Fhreagair mi è 

Mar bu chòir dhomh: 

(Dhomhsa b'aithne 
Beus nan Leòdach:) 

" Fìon 'ga ligeadh, 75 

Beoir 'ga h-òl ac', 

Is treas-tarruing 
'Ga cur an stòpa, 

Cobhair fheumach, 

Riarach' beòshlaint' ". 80 

A bhean ud thall 
A chòir an uisge, 

A Trondairnis 's ann 
Thàinig thusa: 

'S e sin a dh'fhàg 85 

Thu an diugh gun trusgan. 


Air do làimh 

A chaile bhusdubh, 

Chan 'eil mi 
Gun òr gun usgar. 

Tha mo ghùn dubh 
Ur 'nam chiste, 

Is mo sgòid-bhràghad, 
Chan fhaigh thusa i! 


What was the custom 
of that race of Leod? 

Him I gave 
my answer due, 

(Well did I know 

the custom of the MacLeods): 

Wine they broach 
and ale they drink 

And with liquor thrice-brewed 
they fill the stoup: 

A timely aid 

To a feast's enjoyment! 

Thou woman over yonder 
by the water's edge, 

It is because 

thou comest from Trotternish 

That to-day thou art left 
without a mantle! 


By thine hand, 

thou black-mouthed quean, 

I lack not 

gold nor treasure; 

My black gown 
is new in my chest, 

And as for my kerchief, 
— thou 'It not get it! 



Is iomadh bodach 95 

Leathann ceòsach 

Agus cailleach 
Rògach leòmach 

Thigeadh a nail 

A cìiirt Dhomhnaill, 100 

Dh'innseadh gun do 
Thriall am mod air: 

Gun do ghlais na 
Gaill e an seòmar. 

Chugaibh chugaibh 105 

Phrasgain ghealtaich 

Thainig a nail 

A Gleann Shealtainn; 

Chugaibh 'sa' chuan 

Mar na farspaich; no 

Chugaibh 'san fhraoch 
Mar na glaisein, 

D'eagal deagh Mhac 
Leoid 'gur faicinn. 

A' ghlas-ghuib ort, 115 

Is air do sheòrsa! 

Fàg an tìr so, 
Tir nan Leòdach! 

Is rach 'gad ghearan 

Do chiiirt Dhomhnaill! lao 



Many's the broad 
big-rumped carle 

And many's the roguish 
saucy carlin 

Would come over 
from Donald's palace 

To tell that the court 
had sat upon him, 

That the Lowland folk 
had locked him up. 

Off with you, away with you, 
cowardly rabble, 

That are come over 
from Glen Haultin! 

Off with you into the sea 
hke the gulls. 

Away with you into the heather 
like the sparrows. 

For fear the goodly 
MacLeod may see you! 

A muzzle on thee 
and all thy kind! 

Leave this land, 
the MacLeods' land, 

Take your plaint 

to MacDonald's court! 

Ec(- ^j %u^ ^j^'^jh'n'] 

Mairearad nan Cuireid 

Oran a rinn Main nighean Alasdair Ruaidh, is 

Mairearad nan cuireid a' togail oirre gun robh i 


- Ach, a Mhairearad nan cuireid, 

- Cuime a chuir thu orm breug: 

Hi riri o hiri o hi o. 

— Gun robh leanabh gun bhaisteadh 

— Fo aisne mo chlèibh', 

-^ Ann an làraich mhic tighearn' 125 

.^ Far nach bithinn 's tu fhein. 

-^ Cuim' nach innseadh tu an fhirinn 
^ Cho cinnteach rium fhein? 

^ Cha b'ionann do m'athair 

^ Is do t'athair-sa, eisg! 130 

^ Cha b'ionann do m' bhràithrean 
Is do d' ghàrlaich gun speis. 

^ Cha b'ionann do ar tighean 
^^ An am laighe do 'n ghrein: 

^ Gum faighte an tigh m'athar-s' 13s 

^ Sitheann 's cnàimhean an fheidh: 

^ Is e gheibhte an tigh t'athar-s' 
^ Siigh is cnàimhean an eisg. 

^ An am direadh o'n bhaile 

^ Is trom 's gur h-annamh mo cheum. 140 

Gur a diombach mi 'n chaile 
Thog sgannal nam breug; 

Dubh iomall na tuatha, 
Buinneag shuarach gun spreidh, 

A Satiric Song 

to Tricky Margaret, who had spread 
a slanderous report of the poetess. 

Nay, Margaret, thou trickster, why hast thou spread a 
false tale of me? — 

That a babe unbaptized lay within my womb, 

In the dwelling of a noble's son, where I and thou 
would not be together; 

Or why wouldst thou not speak the truth as surely as I? 

Not alike were my father, thou slanderer, and thine. 

Not alike were my brethren and thine unlovely louts. 

Not alike were our dwellings at sunset: 

In my father's house were found venison and bones of 
the deer; 

In thy father's house bree and bones of the fish were 
your fare. 

As I climb from the town my step is heavy and lagging, 

I am ill-pleased with the hussy that hath hatched this 
lying story. 

The basest refuse of the folk, a light jade without cattle, 


Le farmad 's le miorun 
Chuir michliu orm fhein; 

Thog ormsa an droch alladh, 
Is ortsa, a Chaluim nam beus, 

Air an d'fhàs an ciil dualach 
Tha 'na chuaileanan reidh, 

Is e SÌOS mu d' dhà shlinnean 
Mar an fhidheall fo theud. 


do Fhear na Comraich 

^^f^Hf, V 

Tha mise air leaghadh le bròn 

O'n la dh'eug thu 's nach beò 

Mu m'fhiùran faidhidneach coir 155 

Uasal aighearach òg 

As uaisle shuidheadh mu bhòrd: 

Mo chreach t'fhaighinn gun treoir eirigh. 

Is tu an laoch gun laigse gun leòn 

Macan mingheal gun sgleò; 160 

Fearail finealta an t-òg 

De shliochd nam fear mor 

D'am bu dual a bhith coir, 

'S gum b'fhiii faiteal do bheoil eisdeachd. 

Is tu clann na h-irghinn a b'fheàrr, 165 

Glan an fhriamh as an d'fhàs, 

Càirdeas rìgh anns gach ball, 

Bha sud sgriobht' leat am bann 

Fo làimh duine gun mheang 

Ach thu lionta de àrdan euchdach. 170 


That for envy and malice hath spread ill-fame of me, 

Evil gossip of me and of thee, honest Calum, 

Thou whose curling hair flov^^eth down in ringlets smooth. 

Like the strings over the fiddle, over thy two shoulders. 


for the Lord of Applecross 

Since that thou art dead and livest not, I am melted 
with grief for my kindly patient youth, noble, merry, 
and young, that sat the stateliest around a board; alas, 
to find thee without strength to rise. 

Thou wert a warrior without feebleness or hurt, a smooth- 
fair-skinned gallant without vaunt, of the seed of great 
men a high-souled manly scion; it was native to thee 
to be true, and the speech of thy mouth was worthy 
to hear. 

Thou wert child of the noblest dame, pure the stock 
wherefrom thou didst grow; kinship with kings was 
in thine every member; thou didst hold that charter 
under the seal of a man without guile; thou wert 
filled with the pride of prowess. 

(E746) 4 


A Ruairidh aigeanntaich àird 

O Chomraich ghreadhnaich an àigh, 

Mhic an fhir bu mhor gàir 

Nan lann guineach cruaidh garg, 

Ort cha d'fhuaradh riamh cearb, 175 

larogha Uilleam nan long breidgheal. 

Fhuair mi m'àiUeagan ùr 

Is e gun smal air gun smùr, 

Bu bhreac mindearg do ghniiis, 

Bu ghorm laghach do shùil, 180 

Bu ghlan sliasaid is gliin, 

Bu deas daingeann an lùb ghleusta thu. 

A lùb abhall nam buadh, 

Is mairg a tharladh ort uair 

Mu Ghlaic Fhionnlaigh so shuas 185 

Air each crodhanta luath, 

Nàmhaid romhad 'na ruaig, 

Air dhòigh buille cha b'uair eis e, 

Ach fhir as curanta làmh 

Thug gach duine gu cràdh, 190 

Is truagh nach d'fhuirich thu slàn 

Ri uair cumaisg no blàir 

Thoirt tilleadh as do nàmh; 

Bu leat urram an la cheutaich. 

Bu til an sgoilear gun diobradh, 195 

Meoir as grinne ni sgriobhadh, 

Uasal faidhidneach cinnteach, 

Bu leat lagh an tigh-sgriobhaidh, 

Is tu nach mùchadh an fhirinn; 

Sgeul mo chreiche so! shil do chreuchdan. 200 

185. Fhionnlaidh, SO.; lolaidh, S., M. i88. air dhoigh buille, S., M; 
air dhaibh buille, SO.\ cis, M.; ^ìs, S., SO. 193. so S.; a thoirt ds dheth 
do nàmh, SO.; ojn. M. 195. gun diobradh, S., SO.; 's an sibhraiiin, also 
spelt phonetically in the margin, M. 


Thou heartsome towering Roderick out of majestic 
blessed Applecross, thou son of the loud-shouting 
hero of tough stern wounding swordblades, never a 
blemish was found upon thee, thou grandson of William 
of white-sailed galleys. 

I found my fresh young darling to be without spot, with- 
out gloom; freckled, smooth, and ruddy was thy coun- 
tenance, blue and winsome thine eye, shapely were 
knee and thigh; a trim youth comely and firm. 

Thou scion of the apple-tree of virtues, woe to him who 
here by Finlay's Hollow once chanced upon thee on 
thy swift strong-hoofed horse! Thine enemy fled in 
rout before thee; for dread of smiting it was no time 
for him to tarry. 

But thou whose warlike hand hath brought every foe to 
anguish, alas that thou hast remained not hale and 
strong against the hour of battle-tumult, to put thine 
enemies to flight; thou wouldst win the honour of that 
glorious day. 

Thou wert an unfailing scholar, thy fingers skilled to 
write; thou wert noble, patient, steadfast; thou 
knewest the rule of the writing-house, thou wouldst 
not stifle the truth; to hear that thy wounds have 
dripped blood — this is news of mine own despoiling. 


Stad air m'aighear an de; 

Dh'fhalbh mo mharcanta fein; 

Chuir mi an ciste an teud; 

Dhiùlt an gobha dhomh gleus; 

Dh'fhairtlich sud orm 's gach leigh, 205 

Is chaidh m'onoir, is, mo righ, dh'eug thu. 

Thuit a' chraobh as a bàrr, 

Fhrois an gràinne gu làr, 

Lot thu an cinneadh is chràdh 

Air an robh thu mar bhàrr 210 

'Gan dionadh gach la, 

Is mo chreach, bhuinig am bàs teum ort. 

An am suidhe 'nad sheòmar 

Chaidh do bhuidheann an òrdugh, 

Cha b'ann mu aighear do phòsaidh i»S 

Le nighean larla Chlann Domhnaill 

As do dhèidh mar bu choir dhi; 

Is ann chaidh do thasgaidh 'san t-sròl fo d' leine. 

Ach gur mise tha bochd truagh, 

Fiamh a' ghuil air mo ghruaidh; 220 

Is goirt an gradan a fhuair, 

Marcach deas nan each luath, 

Sàr cheannard air sluagh. 

Mo chreach, t'fhàgail ri uair m'fheime. 

Ach fhuair mi m'àilleagan òg 225 

Mar nach b'àbhaist gun cheòl, 

Saoir ri càradh do bhòrd, 

Mnài ri spionadh an fheoir, 

Fir gun tàiHsg gun cheòl; 

Gur bochd fulang mo sgeoil eisdeachd. 230 

203. nan teud, S., SO., M. 205. dhaltruich sud orm, S., M.; dhiult 
sud mi, SO. 207. barr, M.; bharr, S.; thun a bhlàir, SO. 212. bas 
teum, M.; bas treun, S.,SO. 218, fudh d'leine, S.; fo na leintin, M.; ghle- 
gheal, ,SO. 221. gradan, S., 50.; hiadan, gl. bruise lu?ni> M 


Yesterday my gladness came to a close; my dear knight 
departed; I laid aside my harp, music was denied me;^ 
I and every physician were baffled, and so mine honour 
is departed and thou, my king, art dead. 

The tree hath fallen headlong, the grain hath showered 
to earth; wounded and anguished for thy sake are the 
folk over whom thou stoodest pre-eminent, protecting 
them at all times; alas, death hath inflicted his bite 
upon thee. 

What time they sat in thy chamber thy company arrayed 
themselves, not in readiness for the joy of thy wedding, 
with the daughter of Clan Donald's earl seeking after 
thee, as were due; not so, but thou wert bestowed in 
the satin shroud beneath thy shirt. 

O it is I that am sad and sorrowful, the tinge of weeping 
on my cheek! Sore is the bitter pang that I have 
suffered; comely rider of swift steeds, prime leader 
over a host, alas that thou hast forsaken me in the time 
of my need! 

But I have found my young dear one without music as 
was not wont, wrights a-fashioning thy coffin, the 
women plucking grass, the men without music or 
chess-playing; grievous it is to hear the sorrow of 
my news. 

See note. 


An uair a thionail an sluagh 

Is ann bha an t-iomsgaradh cruaidh 

Mar ghàir sheillean am bruaich 

An deidh na meala thoirt uath; 

Is ann bha an t-eireadh bochd truagh 235 

Is iad mu cheannas an t-sluaigh threubhaich. 

An Talla am bu ghnàth le 
Mac Leoid 

Gur muladach tha mi, 

Is mi gun mhire gun mhànran 

Anns an talla am bu ghnàth le Mac Leoid. 

Tigh mor macnasach meadhrach 240 

Nam macaomh 's nam maighdean, 

Far am bu tartarach gleadhraich nan corn. 

Tha do thalla mor priseil 

Gun fhasgadh gun dion ann, 

Far am faca mi am fion bhith 'ga òl. 245 

232. 'n t iom-sgaradh, M.; 'n tiom sgaradh, S.; 'n tioma-sgaradh, SO. 

235. 'n t-eireadh, M., SO.; 'n teireadh, S. 236 After this, the last line in 
S. and SO., M. has: 

Ach ga h e tathair bu treis' 236 a 

Chuir sud mail' air am feisd b 

Bha do bhrath'ren fo leatrom c 

Piob do dheidhse ga greasadh d 

Ag mo ghradh mar bu deas leis e 

's ceinn-fheadhna gan spreigeadh re toighreachd. / 

237. So E., BGh. Righl gur muladach, &c., S., SO. 'S mor mo mhulad 
's mo phramhan. 'S mi gun mhacnus gun mharan M. 


When the folk gathered, there they suffered a bitter 
parting, as bees in a bank cry loudly when their honey 
hath been taken from them; as they surrounded the 
captain of the heroic host, mournful and wretched was 
their burden. 

MacLeod's Wonted Hall 

Woeful am I, lacking mirth and lacking melody, in the 
hall where MacLeod was wont to be. 

That was a mansion blithe and festive, thronged with 
young men and with maidens, where the clangour of 
the drinking-horns was loud. 

Without shelter or guard is thy great and brilliant hall, 
where I have seen wine a-drinking. 

245. After this verse M. has: 

Aig oighre shiol Tormaid 

Fear heaguis cho 'n eol domh 

Cha 'n i 'n fhoill a chuir as duit no 'n stroth. 

Cuid ga tabhaist 's ga d'bheusan 

A bhi gu fuiltieach trie beun dearg 

Air a chuideachda cheir-gheal nan croc. 

Leat bu mhian na coin luthmhor, &c. 


Och mo dhiobhail mar thachair, 

Thàinig dile air an aitribh: 

Is ann is cianail learn tachairt 'na coir. 

V. 95 D Shir Tormoid nam bratach, 

Fear do dhealbh-sa bu tearc e, 250 

Gun sgeilm a chur asad no bòsd. 

Fhuair thu teist is deagh urram 

Ann am freasdal gach duine, 

Air dheiseachd 's air uirghioU beoil. 

Leat bu mhiannach coin luthmhor 255 

Dhol a shiubhal nan stùcbheann, 

Is an gunna nach diùltadh ri h-grd. o 

Is i do làmh nach robh tuisleach 

Dhol a chaitheamh a' chuspair 

Le do bhogha cruaidh ruiteach deagh-neoil. 260 

Glac throm air do shliasaid 

An deidh a snaidheadh gun fhiaradh, 

Is bàrr dosrach de sgiathaibh an eoin. 

Bhiodh cèir ris na crannaibh 

Bu neo-eisleanach tarruing, 265 

An uair a leumadh an taifeid o d' mheoir. 

248. After this, SO. has the verse: 

Chi mi a' chliar is na dàimhich 

A' trèigsinn na fàrdaich 

O nach eisd thu ri fàihe luchd-ceoil. 

262. An deidh a snaidheadh after E., S., SO., BGh. 'S i gun ghaiseadh 
gun fhiaradh (ghiomh int), M. 


Alas the loss and change! a deluge hath o'erswept the 
dwelling, and I feel strange and forlorn to be anigh it. 

Sir Norman of banners, how rare were a man in mould 
like thee, from whose lips boast or vaunt was never ^ 

In ministering unto every man thou hast won thee fame 
and fair renown for comeliness and for sweet speech. 

For going to traverse the peaked hills thou didst love the 
active hounds, and the gun that answered readily the 

Unfaltering was thine hand in aiming at the target with 
thy tough ruddy bow good of hue, 

On thine hip a heavy quiver flawlessly shaped, on thine 
head a crest from the wings of the eagle. 

Well waxed would the shafts be, and not feebly were 
they drawn, when the bowstring leaped from thy 


An uair a leigte o d' làimh i 

Cha bhiodh òirleach gun bhàdhadh 

Eadar corran a gàinne is an smeoirn. 

Ceud soraidh le dùrachd 370 

Uam gu leannan an t-siigraidh: 

Gum b'e m'aighear 's mo run bhith 'nad choir. 

An am dhuit tighinn gu d' bhaile 

Is tu bu tighearnail gabhail, 

An uair a shuidheadh gach caraid mu d' bhòrd. 275 

Bha thu measail aig uaislean, 

Is cha robh beagan mar chruas ort: 

Sud an cleachdamh a fhuair thu ad aois òig. 

Gum biodh farum air thàilisg 

Agus fuaim air a' chlàrsaich, 280 

Mar a bhuineadh do shar mhac Mhic Leoid. 

Gur h-e bu eachdraidh 'na dheidh sin 

Greis air ursgeil na Feinne, 

Is air chuideachda cheirghil nan croc. 

269. After this, M. has: 

'S ann's a chlachan so shios uam 

Tha mo chairdin 's mo dhislin 

Cia mar theid mi na'm fiadhnais aig bron? 

'S ann na luighe a's teampuU 
Tha m'aighir is m'annsachd 
Chaoidh' cha teid mi fhein ann 's gun thu beo. 

Thereafter the air is noted in ten bars. 
278. ad t aois òig, E.; and so S., SO. 


When it sped from thine hand, not an inch of the shaft 
from pointed tip to notch but would bury itself in the 

A hundred farewells with fond goodwill to him who was 
wedded to jollity; to me it was joy and delight to be 
beside thee. 

When thou camest to thine homestead, it is thou wert 
lordly of bearing, what time every friend was placed 
around thy board. 

Among nobles thou wert esteemed, and no trifle dis- 
tressed thee; such thy usage from the time of thy 

The chessmen would rattle and the harp would be sound- 
ing, as was meet for MacLeod's noble son. 

Thereafter would be chronicled the epic, for a spell, of 
the Fiann, and of the white-flanked antlered band. 


do Iain Garbh Mac Ghille Chaluim Ratharsaidh 
a chaidh a dhith le ainneart mara. 

Mo bheud is mo chràdh 285 

Mar a dh'eirich da 

An fhear ghleusta ghràidh 

Bha treun 'san spàirn 

Is nach faicear gu bràth an Ratharsaidh. 

Bu tù am fear curanta mor 290 

Bu mhath cumadh is treoir 

O t'uilinn gu d' dhòrn 

O d' mhullach gu d' bhròig: 

Mhic Mhuire mo leòn 

Thu bhith an innis nan ròn is nach faighear thu. 295 

Bu til sealgair a' gheoidh, 

Làmh gun dearmad gun leòn 

Air am bu shuarach an t-òr 

Thoirt a bhuannachd a' cheoil, 

Is gun d'fhuair thu na's leoir is na chaitheadh tu. 300 

Bu tu sealgair an fhèidh 

Leis an deargta na bein; 

Bhiodh coin earbsach air eill 

Aig an Albannach threun; 

Càite am faca mi fein 305 

Aon duine fo'n ghrein 

A dhèanadh riut euchd flathasach? 

295. Innis nan Rod, M. 306. Re shireadh fuidh ghrein/Aon ni air nach 
gleusta ghabhadh tu, M. 


for Iain Garbh mac Ghille Chaluim of Raasay, 
who was drowned in a violent storm. 

It is harm to me and anguish, that which hath befallen 
the deft well-loved man that was strong in conflict and 
shall be seen in Raasay never more. 

Thou wert a hero great, goodly of form from thine elbow 
to thy fist, from thy crown to thy shoe; Son of Mary! 
it is my hurt, that thou art in the seals' pasture and 
shalt not be found. 

Thou wert a hunter of the wild-goose, thine a hand un- 
erring and unblemished, to which it were a light thing 
to bestow gold for the maintenance of music; for thou 
hast gotten plenty, and all that thou wouldst spend. 

Thou wert a hunter of the deer, by whom hides were 
reddened; trusty hounds would the mighty man of 
Alba hold on leash; where have I beheld beneath the 
sun one man that would vie with thee in a princely 


Spealp nach diobradh 

An cath no an stri thu, 

Casan direach 310 

Fada finealt; 

Mo chreach dhiobhail 

Chaidh thu a dhith oirnn 

Le neart sine, 

Làmh nach diobradh caitheadh oirre. 315 

Och m'eudail uam 

Gun sgeul 'sa' chuan 

Bu ghle mhath snuadh 

Ri grein 's ri fuachd, 

Is e chlaoidh do shluagh 320 

Nach d'fheud thu an uair a ghabhail orra. 

Is math thig gunna nach diùlt 

Air curaidh mo ruin 

Ann am mullach a' chiiirn 

Is air uilinn nan stùc: 325 

Gum biodh fuil ann air tiis an spreadhaidh sin. 

Is e dh'fhàg silteach mo shùil 

Faicinn t'fhearainn gun surd, 

Is do bhaile gun smùid 

Fo charraig nan sùgh, 330 

Dheagh mhic Chaluim nan tùr à Ratharsaidh. 

Mo bheud is mo bhròn 

Mar a dh'eirich dhò, 

Muir beucach mor 

Ag leum mu d' bhòrd, 335 

Thu fein is do sheoid 

An uair reub ur seoil 

Nach d'fheud sibh treoir a chaitheadh orra. 

3a6. an tus an spreithidh sin, M.; air tùs na spreidh-sin, S.; SO. omits 
the verse. 


A gay gallant wert thou that shrank not in strife or battle; 
thy limbs straight, long, and shapely; alas, I am sadly 
reft, thou art lost to us by strength of tempest, thou 
whose hand would cease not to make thy vessel speed. 

Alas for my treasure reft from me, who was very goodly 
of aspect in sun and in cold, lost in the ocean without 
trace; that is what hath bowed down thy folk, that 
thou couldst not reach them in that hour. 

A gun that readily answereth, well would it become my 
dear warrior in the cairn's summit or on the elbow of 
the peaks; blood would flow in front of its discharge. 

What hath left mine eyes tearful is to see thy land cheer- 
less, now that thou hast a homestead without smoke 
under the wave-lashed rock, thou from Raasay, thou 
excellent son of Calum of the towers. 

It is hurt and sorrow to me, that which hath befallen 
him; a great roaring sea leaping about thy boat; thy- 
self and thy stout crew, when your sails ripped, that 
you could not bend your might upon them. 


Is tu b'fhaicillich' ceum 

Mu'n taice-sa an de 340 

De na chunnaic mi fein 

Air faiche nan ceud 

Air each 's e 'na leum, 

Is cha bu slacan gun fheum claidheamh ort. 

Is math lùbadh tu pic 345 

O chùlaibh do chinn 

An am rùsgadh a' ghill 

Le ionnsaigh nach till, 

Is air mo làimh gum bu chinnteach saighead uat. 

Is e an sgeul cràiteach 350 

Do'n mhnaoi a dh'fhàg thu, 

Is do t'aon bhràthair 

A shuidh 'nad àite: 

Di-luain Càisge 

Chaidh tonn-bhàidhte ort, 355 

Craobh a b'àirde de'n abhall thu. 


At this hour of yesterday thou wert the most wary of 
step of all that I saw upon a green where hundreds 
thronged, on a horse as it sprang; and a sword was no ^ 
useless wand when thou didst wear it. 

Well couldst thou bend a bow from behind thine head, 
in the hour of declaring thy pledge of valour, with an 
onset unretreating; and by my hand! thine arrow sped 

This is a sore tale for the wife thou hast left, and for 
thine only brother that hath sat in thy seat; the Monday 
of Easter a drowning wave came upon thee; the lofties 
tree of the orchard thou. 


/_ -u. (?v4u.4 , ^AA^ L\Ajo..<JJL^ l>. 73 7 


A rinn Màiri nighean Alasdair Ruaidh 
goirid an deis a fàgail an Sgarbaidh. 

Hoireann 6 ho bhi 6 
Hoireann 6 ho bhi 6 
Hoireann 6 ho bhi 6 
Ri hoireann 6 o hao o! 

- Is muladach mi, hi 6 

Hoireann 6 ho bhi 6 

— O cheann seachdain, hi 6 

Ro hoireann 6 o hao o, 

- Is mi an eilean gun 

- Fhiar gun fhasgadh. 360 

-- Ma dh'fhaodas mi 

- Theid mi dhachaidh; 

- Ni mi an t-iomramh 
-^ Mar as fhasa, 

-- Do Uilbhinnis 365 

^ A' chruidh chaisfhinn, 

-- Far an d'fhuair mi 
- Gu h-òg m'ahrum, 

Air bainne chioch 

Nam ban basgheal, 370 

Thall aig Fionnghail 
Dhuinn nighean Lachainn, 

Is Ì 'na banchaig 
Ris na martaibh 

Aig Ruairidh mor Mac 375 

Leoid nam bratach. 

A Plaint 

made by Mary daughter of Alasdair the 
Red soon after she was left in Scarba. 

Hoireann ò 

Mournful am I 
since a week past, 

Left in the island ^ 

without grass, without shelter. 

If I can 

I will fare homeward. 

I'll make the journey 
easily as may be 

To Ullinish 

of white-hoofed cattle 

Where in my youth 
I was reared 

On the breast-milk 

of white-palmed women. 

Over there in the household 

of brown-haired Flora, Lachann's daughter, 

She a rhilkmaid 
about the cows 

With Roderick Mor 
MacLeod of banners. 


— 'S ann 'na thigh mor 
A fhuair mi am macnas, 

Danns' le sunnd air 

Urlar farsaing, 380 

An fhidhleireachd 'gam 
Chur a chadal, 

A' phiobaireachd 
Mo dhiisgadh maidne. 

Thoir mo shoraidh, ho 6 385 

Hoireann 6 ho bhi o, 
Gu Dim Bheagain, hi 6 

Ro hoireann 6 o hao o. 


In his great house 
I have been joyful, 

Dancing merry 
on a wide floor, 

The fiddle-playing 
to put me to sleep, 

The pipe-playing 

to wake me in the morning. 

Bear my greeting 
to Dunvegan. 

Luinneag Mhic Leoid 

Is mi am shuidhe air an tulaich 

Fo mhulad 's fo imchcioj /, ai w\ c V^c ». st 7 
Is mi ag coimhead air lie, 

Is ann de m' iongnadh 's an -mm so; a.v»»a / 390 
Bha mi uair nach do shaoil mi, 

Gus an do chaochail air m'aimsir. 
Gun tiginn an taobh so 

Dh'amharc Dhiuraidh a Sgarbaidh. 

I hurabh o i hoiriunn o, 

i hurabh o i hoiriunn o, 
I hurabh o i hogaidh ho ro, 

hi ri ri rithibh ho i ag o. 

Gun tiginn an taobh so 395 

Dh'amharc Dhiuraidh a Sgarbaidh; 
Beir mo shoraidh do'n dùthaich 

Tha fo dhubhar nan garbhbheann, 
Gu Sir Tormod ùr allail 

Fhuair ceannas air armailt, 4°° 

Is gun cainte anns gach fearann 

Gum b'airidh fear t'ainm air. 

Gun cainte anns gach fearann 

Gum b'airidh fear t'ainm air, 
Fear do cheille is do ghHocais, 405 

Do mhisnich 's do mheanmain, 
Do chruadail 's do ghaisge, 

Do dhreach is do dhealbha, 
Agus t'fholachd is t'uaisle 

Cha bu shuarach ri leanmhainn. 410 

394. a, BGh.; a', E.; a's, SO. 396. a, E. 409, So BGh., after E.; t-òlachd, 

MacLeod's Lilt ^ 

Sitting here on the knoll, forlorn and unquiet, I gaze 
upon Islay and marvel the while; there was a time I 
never thought, till my times took a change, that hither 
I should come to view Jura from Scarba. 

I hurabh o. 

Hither to come and view Jura from Scarba! Bear my 
greetings to the land that lieth shadowed by the rugged 
peaks, to the young renowned Sir Norman that hath 
won headship over an armed host, for it is said in every 
land that one of his name were worthy thereof. 

In every land they say one of thy name were worthy 
thereof, one of thy prudence and thy wisdom, thy 
courage and thy spirit, one of thy hardihood and 
valour, of thy mien and of thy mould; and thy lineage 
and thy nobility were no trifle to trace. 

' Edited in Mr. A. MacLeod's Sàr Orain. 


Agus t'fholachd is t'uaisle 

Cha bu shuarach ri leanmhainn; 
D'fhuil dirich righ Lochlainn 

B'e sud toiseach do sheanchais. 
Tha do chàirdeas so-iarraidh 415 

Ris gach larla tha an Albainn, 
Is ri h-uaislean na h-Eireann: 

Cha bhreug ach sgeul dearbhta e. 

Is ri h-uaislean na h-Eireann: 

Cha bhreug ach sgeul dearbhta e. 420 

A Mhic an fhir chliuitich, 

Bha gu fìùghantach ainmeil; 
Thug barrachd an gliocas 

Air gach Ridir bha an Albainn 
Ann an cogadh 's an siothshaimh, 425 

Is ann an dioladh an airgid. 

Ann an cogadh 's an siothshaimh, 

Is ann an dioladh an airgid. 
Is beag an t-iongnadh do mhac-sa 

Bhith gu beachdail mor meanmnach, 430 

Bhith gu fiùghant' fial farsaing, 

O'n a ghlac sibh mar shealbh e: 
Clann Ruairidh nam bratach, 

Is e mo chreach-sa na dh'fhalbh dhiubh. 

Clann Ruairidh nam bratach, 435 

Is e mo chreach-sa na dh'fhalbh dhiubh; 
Ach an aon fhear a dh'fhuirich 

Nior chluinneam sgeul marbh ort; 
Ach, eudail de fhearaibh, 

Ge do ghabh mi uat tearbadh 440 

Fhir a' chuirp as glan cumadh. 

Gun uireasbhuidh dealbha. 

425. siothshaimh, BGh.; slo'-chaibh, E.; sio'-chainnt, SO. 


Thy lineage and nobility were no trifle to trace; from 
the blood of Lochlann's kings thine ancestry unbroken 
takes its rise; thy kinship is not far to seek with every 
earl that is in Scotland, and with the nobles of Ireland; 
no lie is this but a proven tale. 

No lie but a tale well proven, thou son of the renowned 
sire that was open-handed and far-famed, that in 
wisdom excelled every one of Scotland's knights, in 
war and in peace and in the bestowal of silver. 

In war and in peace and in the bestowal of silver; no 
marvel that his son should be prudent, great and spirited, 
should be liberal and free-handed, since ye have 
received that character as an inheritance, ye sons of 
Roderick of war-banners! My sorrow, that so many of 
you are dead and gone! 

So many of you are dead and gone, ye sons of Roderick! 
but thou one that remainest, news of thy death ^ may 
I never hear; thou treasure among men, though I am 
sundered from thee, thou whose form is so fair, with- 
out flaw of fashioning. 

Or, news of thy slackness. 

(M^ 1% 



Fhir a' chuirp as glan cumadh, 

Gun uireasbhuidh dealbha; 
Crìdhe farsaing fial fearail, 445 

Is maith thig geal agus dearg ort. 
Sùil ghorm as glan sealladh 

Mar dhearcaig na talmhainn, 
Làmh ri gruaidh ruitich ^ srua:.-'--' 

Mar mhucaig na fearradhris. 450 

Làmh ri gruaidh ruitich 

Mar mhucaig na fearrdhris. 
Fo thagha na gruaige 

Cùl dualach nan camlìib. 
Gheibhte sud ann ad fhàrdaich 45S 

An càradh air ealchainn, 
Miosair is adharc 

Is rogha gach armachd. 

Miosair is adharc 

Is rogha gach armachd, 460 

Agus lanntainean tana 

O'n ceannaibh gu'm barrdheis. 
Gheibhte sud air gach sUos dhiubh 

Isneach is cairbinn, 
Agus iubhair chruaidh fhallain 465 

Le an taifeidean cainbe. 

Agus iubhair chruaidh fhallain 

Le an taifeidean cainbe, 
Is cuilbheirean caola X. 

A . Air an daoiread gun ceannaichte iad; 47^ 

Glac nan ceann liomhta 

Air chur sios ann am balgaibh 
O iteach an fhireoin 

Is o shioda na Gailbhinn. 

454. So SO., BGh.\ Chuil dualaich, E. 463. Gheibht' air gach slias 
dhiu' sid, E. 465. iubhair chruaidh, SO., BGh. {pi.); iubhar cruaigh, E. 
470. air an daoirid, SO.; air a dhaoirid, E. 471. ? crann. 


Thou of form so fair, without flaw of fashioning, thou 
heart manly and generous, well do red and white be- 
come thee; thy clear-seeing eye blue as the blaeberry, 
set by thy cheek ruddy as the berry of the dog-rose. 

Thy cheek is ruddy as the berry of the dog-rose, and 
under the choicest head of hair thy curling locks 
entwine. In thy dwelling would be found, ranged 
upon the weapon-rack, powder-horn and shot-horn 
and the pick of every armoury. 

Powder-horn and shot-horn and the pick of every armoury, 
and sword-blades slender-tapering from hilt to tip; 
would be found on each side of them rifle and carabine, 
and bows tough and sound with their bowstrings of 

Bows tough and sound with their bowstrings of hemp, 
and narrow culverins would be bought though they 
be dear; a handful of polished arrows thrust down 
into quivers, fledged from the plumage of the eagle 
and the silk of Gal way. 


O iteach an fhireoin 

Is o shioda na Gailbhinn; 
^°' Tha mo chion air a' churaidh, 

Mac Mhuire chur sealbh air. 
Is e bu mhiannach le m' leanabh 

Bhith am beannaibh na sealga, 
Gabhail aighir na frithe 

Is a' direadh nan garbhghlac. 

Gabhail aighir na frithe 

Is a' direadh nan garbhghlac, 
A' leigeil nan cuilean 

Is a' furan nan seanchon; 
Is e bu deireadh do'n fhuran ud 

Fuil thoirt air chalgaibh 
O luchd nan ceir geala 

Is nam falluingean dearga. 

O luchd nan ceir geala 

Is nam falluingean dearga, 
Le do chomhlan dhaoine uaisle 

Rachadh cruaidh air an armaibh; 
Luchd aithneachadh latha 

Is a chaitheadh an fhairge 
Is a b'urrainn g'a seòladh 

Gu seòlaid an tarruinte i. 

480. na sealga, E.\ nan sealga, SO., BGh. 


Fledged from the eagle's plumage and the silk of Galway; 
the hero hath my love, may Mary's Son prosper him! 
It would be my dear one's pleasure to be a-hunting in 
the peaks, taking joy of the forest and ascending the 
rough dells. 

Taking joy of the forest and ascending the rough dells, 
letting slip the young hounds and inciting the old 
ones; of that incitement it would come that blood 
would flow on the bristles of the folk of white flanks 
and russet mantles. 

Blood on the deer white-flanked and russet-mantled, at 
the hands of thy company of nobles that bear hardly 
on their weapons; men that well would read the day, 
and speed over the ocean, and fit to sail the vessel to 
the haven wherein she would be beached. 

Crònan an Taibh 

Ri fuaim an taibh 

Is uaigneach mo ghean; 500 

Bha mise uair nach b'e sud m'àbhaist. zLc.o 1 5^ 

Ach piob nuallanach mhor 

Bheireadh buaidh air gach ceòl, 

An uair a ghluaiste i le meoir Phàdraig. 

Gur mairg a bheir geill 50s 

Do'n t-saoghal gu leir: 

Is trie a chaochail e cheum gàbhaidh. 

Gur Honmhoire a chiirs 

Na'n dealt air an driuchd 

Ann am madainn an tiis Màighe. s"> 

Chan fhacas ri m' re 

Aon duine fo'n ghrein 

Nach tug e ghreis fein dhà sin. 

Thoir an t-soraidh so bhuam 

Gu talla nan cuach, 515 

Far am biodh tathaich nan truagh dàimheil. 

Chun an tighe nach gann 

Fo an leathad ud thall, 

Far bheil aighear is ceann mo mhànrain. 

Sir Tormod mo ruin, 520 

Olgharach thii, 
Foirmeil o thus t'àbhaist. 

A thasgaidh 's a chiall, 

Is e bu chleachdamh duit riamh 

Teach farsaing 's e fial fàilteach. 525 

499. an Taibh, 5.; anTaif£.; an t-shaimh, 50. 


The Ocean-Croon 

At the ocean's sound my mood is forlorn — time was that 
such was not my wont to hear, 

But the great shrill-voiced pipe, all music surpassing 
when Patrick's fingers stirred it. 

Woe to him who giveth his trust to the world: often 
hath it changed its perilous step; 

More varied its course than the drops of dew on a morn- 
ing in May's beginning; 

Never under the sun have I beheld him to whom it gave 
not his day of trouble. 

Bear this greeting from me to the hall of wine-cups, 
haunt of kinsmen in distress; 

To the dwelling that is not scanty, over yonder beneath 
the slope, where is the joy and the theme of my melody. 

Sir Norman of my love, one of Olgar's race art thou, 
stately from of old thy custom. 

Thou treasure beloved, this was ever thy wont: a wide 
house liberal and welcoming. 


Bhiodh teanal nan cliar 

Rè tamaill is cian, 

Dh'fhios a' bhaile am biodh triall chàirdean. 

Nàile, chunnaic mi uair 

Is glan an lasadh bha ad ghruaidh, 530 

Fo ghruaig chleachdaich nan dual àrbhuidh'. 

Fear dìreach deas treun 
Bu ro-fhìrinneach beus, 
Is e gun mhìghean gun cheum tràiUeil; 

Y (^ùu^t) De'n linnidh b'fheàrr buaidh 535 

Tha 's na crìochaibh mun cuairt, 
Clann fhìrinneach Ruairidh lànmhoir. 

Chan 'eil cleachdainn mhic rìgh 

No gaisge no gnìomh, 

Nach 'eil pearsa mo ghaoil làn deth. 540 

An trèine 's an lùth, 
An ceudfaidh 's an cliù, 
Am fèile is an gnùis nàire. 

An gaisge is an gnìomh, 

Am pailteas neo-chrìon, 545 

Am maise is am miann àillteachd. 

An cruadal 's an toil, 

Am buaidh thoirt air sgoil, 

An uaisle gun chron càileachd. 

Tuigsear nan teud, 55« 

Purpais gach sgeil, 
Susbaint gach ceill nàduir. 

Gum bu chubhaidh dhuit siod 

Mar a thubhairt iad ris, 

Bu tu an t-ubhal thar mios àrdchraoibh. sss 

546. miann BGh., after E.; miagh, S., SO. 


For many a day poet-bands would gather towards the 
homestead whereunto friends would fare. 

Lo, I have seen the day when bright shone thy cheek, 
under the gold-yellow ringlets of thy head; 

A man straight, strong, and mighty, full righteous of 
conduct, without ill-mood or slavish step; 

Of the race of rarest quality of all that are in the bounds 
around, the righteous sons of full-great Roderick. 

There is no virtue that befits a king's son, there is no 
valour or prowess, but my dear one's person is full 

In might and in vigour, in understanding and renown, 
in liberality and modesty of mien; 

In valour and prowess, in free-handed generosity, in 
comeliness and winsome beauty. 

In hardihood and in will, in pre-eminence of learning, 
in nobility with no flaw in his nature; 

Skilled to judge of harp-playing, the theme of every tale, 
the pith of all natural sense. 

Right well that became thee (the style that men gave 
him), the topmost apple above a tall tree's fruit. 


Leòdach mo ruin, 
Seòrsa fhuair cliù, 
Cha bu tòiseachadh ùr dhàibh Sir. 

'^ Bha fios CO sibh 

Ann an iomartas righ, 560 

An uair bu mhuladach stri Theàrlaich.^^ 

Slàn Ghàidheil no Ghoill ^ 

Gun d'fhuaras oirbh foill, 

Dh'aon bhuaireadh gun d'rinn bhur nàmhaid. 

Lochlannaich threun 565 

Toiseach bhur sgeil, 

Sliochd solta bh'air freumh Mhànuis. 

Thug Dia dhuit mar ghibht 

Bhith mordhalach glic; 

Chriosd deònaich do d'shUochd bhith àghmhor. 570 

Fhuair thu fortan o Dhia, 

Bean bu shocraiche ciall, 

Is i gu foistinneach fial nàrach: 

A bheil eineach is cUù, 

Is i gun mhilleadh 'na ciiis, 575 

Is i gu h-iriosal ciuin càirdeil: 

I gun dolaidh fo'n ghrein 

Gu toileachadh treud, 

Is a folachd a reir bànrighinn. 

Is trie a riaraich thu cuilm 580 

Gun fhiabhras gun tuilg: 

Nighean oighre Dhùn-tuilm, slàn duit, 

570. Chriosd deònaich, E., BGh. Criosd dheonach', S.; Chriosd 
deonaich', SO. 

UM C /Swu.<u^ f»^ <*-•« ^^ .H w-ian xic^^j.^^ A*^L^ ^ A^ii^fc. 



A MacLeod dear to me, of the race that hath won fame; 
no new dignity for you is this of knighthood. 

All knew what you were in the conflicts of a king, when 
the wars of Charles were vexing us. 

Gael or Saxon I defy to show that deceit was found in 
you, despite all temptations your foes did offer you. 

Mighty men of Lochlann came first in your history, a 
puissant race of Magnus' stock. 

God hath bestowed upon thee to be magnificent and 
wise; Christ grant that thy posterity be prosperous; 

From God thou didst receive a dower, a wife most stead- 
fast of sense, sedate, shamefast, and hospitable: 

She hath generosity and renown, without blemish about 
her; she is humble, calm, and friendly: 

She without defect under the sun for the pleasuring of 
companies, and her lineage is worthy a queen. 

Often hast thou dispensed a banquet without confusion 
or pomp; thou daughter of Duntulm's heir, hail to 

An T-Eudach 

Duanag a rinn Màiri nighean Alasdair Ruaidh 

mar gum biodh i ag eudach ri ban-Ilich a 

mheall a leannan oirre, nam b'fhìor i. 

Hirirì ohù robhò, 
Roho ì ohì o, 

- Gur a mise tha iar mo chlisgeadh, 

Tha loch uisge fo m' chluasaig. ^ 

Ged a thèid mi do m' leabaidh 585 

Chan e an cadal as dual domh, 

" Is a' bhean tha an He 

_ Sìor mhiadachadh m'euda; 

Bhean thug uamsa mo roghainn, 

Is gun taghainn thar cheud e. 59° 

— Ach nam bithinn 'na fianuis, 

~ Gum biodh spionadh air bhreidean. 

— Chi mi an Fhionnairigh thall ud 

— Is i gun earras fo'n ghrein oirr', 

^ Gum faca mise uair a S95 

— Bha daoine-uaisle mu d'reidhlean. 

" Rachadh cuid do'n bheinn-sheilg dhiubh, 

— Cuid a mharbhadh an eisg dhiubh, 

— Air Linne na Ciste 

-- Am bi na brie anns an leumraich. 600 

Tha mo chean air an lasgair, 
Saighdear sgairteil fo sgeith thu. 

An uair a thig thu do'n chaisteal ^^ 
Bheir thu dhachaidh do cheud ghràdh. , ^ 

599. Linge, D. 



A ditty made by Mary as it were in jealousy of 

an Islay woman who, according to Mary, enticed 

her sweetheart from her. 

Hìrirì ohù robhò, 
Roho ì ohì o. 

It is I that have got a sore start; there is a loch of tears 
under my pillow. 

Though I go to my bed, it is not sleep I am likely to get, 

While yon woman in Islay maketh me ever more jealous, 

Who took from me my sweetheart, whom I'd choose 
before a hundred. 

Nay, if I were before her, there would kertches be torn 

Over yonder I see Fiunary, without wealth of any sort 

Though I have seen the day when nobles thronged thy 

Some part of them would go to the hunting-hill, some 
of them to kill the fish, 

On the Pool of the Coffin where the trout will be leaping. 

The gay youth hath my love, a brisk soldier art thou 
beneath a shield. 

When thou comest to the castle, thou 'It take home thy 
first love. 


Ged a tha mi air m'aineol 605 

O'n bhaile fo eislean, 

Chan ion do'n bhan-Ilich 

Bhith strith rium mu d'dheidhinn. 

Cumha do Mhac Leoid 

Gur e an naidheachd so fhuair mi 

A dh'fhuadaich mo chiall uam 610 

Mar nach bitheadh i agam 

Is nach fhaca mi riamh i; 
Gur e abhall an lios so 

Tha mise ag iargain, 
E gun abachadh rneas air ''»«-v<^i ^^^ 

Ach air briseadh fo chiad-bhàrr. 

Gur e sgeula na creiche 

Tha mi nise ag eisdeachd, 
Gach aon chneadh mar thig orm 

Dol an tricid 's an deinid; 620 

Na chunncas 's na chualas 

Is na fhuaradh o'n cheud la, 
Creach nid an t-seabhaig, 

Air a sgathadh ri aon uair, 

Ach a chlann an fhir allail 625 

Bu neo-mhalairtich beusan, 
Ann an Lunnainn 's am Paris 

Thug sibh bàrr air na ceudan; 
Chaidh nur cliù thairis 

Thar talamh na h-Eiphit, 630 

A cheann-uidhe luchd-ealaidh 

Is a leannain na feileachd. 

615. So SO.; I gun abuchadh meas oir, 5. 619. orm, S.; oim', SO. 
621. na chunnadh, S.; na chunnaic, SO. 628. om. S. 


Though I be in a strange land, far from home and de- 

It beseemeth not the Islay woman to strive with me for 
thy sake. 

Lament for MacLeod 

This message I have received hath driven my reason from 
me as though I had never had and never seen it; the 
apple-tree of this orchard do I now lament, that under 
its first crop it hath broken, without ripening of its 

A tale of ruin is this that now I hear, for each wound as 
it Cometh on me waxeth ever more frequent and more 
dire; as the hawk's nest is harried, so all that we have 
beheld and heard, all that we have got since our first 
day, hath in a moment been swept away. 

But, ye sons of the renowned that swerved not from 
good ways, in London and in Paris ye have excelled 
hundreds; over the land of Egypt your fame hath gone 
abroad, ye that have been to minstrels as their journey 's- 
end, ever wedded to liberality. 


Ach a fhriamhaich nan curaidh 

Is a chuilein nan leoghann 
Is ogha an da sheanair 635 

Bu chaithreamaich lòisdean, 
Càite an robh e ri f haotainn 

Air an taobh-s' an Roinn Eòrpa? — 
Cha b'fhuras ri fhaighinn 

Anns gach rathad bu dòigh dhuibh. 640 

Ach a Ruairidh mhic Iain, 

Is goirt learn fhaighinn an sgeul-s' ort; 
Is e mo chreach-sa mac t'athar 

Bhith 'na laighe gun eirigh; 
Agus Tormod a mhac-san, 645 

A thasgaidh mo cheille! 
Gur e aobhar mo ghearain 

Gun chailleadh le cheile iad. 

Nach mor an sgeul-sgriobhaidh 

Is nach iongnadh leibh fein e, 650 

Duilleach na craoibhe 

Nach do sgaoileadh a meanglain, ^-^.c^ • 

An robh cUii agus onoir 

Agus moladh air deagh bheairt 
Gu daonnachdach carthannach 655 

Beannachdach ceutach. 

Ge goirt leam an naidheachd 

Tha mi faighinn air Ruairidh, 
Gun do chorp a bhith as dùthaich ^.,^- 

Anns an tuama bu dual duit, 660 ^*"**" 

Sgeul eile nach usa 
CXAt^'^ ^^ Tha mi clàistinn 'san uair so, 

Gar nach toir mi dha creideas, 

Gur beag orm ri luaidh e. 

659. 's Dùthaich, S.; 'san Dùthaich, SO. 663. gar, S.; ged, SO. 


Nay, Roderick, thou scion of heroes, thou whelp of 
Hons, grandson of two noble grandsires right magni- 
ficent of hospitality, where this side of Europe was to 
be found thy peer in every way that was thy wont? 

Thou son of Iain, it is sore to hear this news of thee; 
my grief, that thy father's son should be lying still, 
never more to rise! And Norman thy brother, O 
treasure of my heart! that they are lost together is the 
burthen of my plaint. 

Is not the message dreadful, and strange do ye not deem 
it, that that tree luxuriant hath not spread its branches, 
wherein were found renown and honour and praise 
for good deeds, with love and humanity, benignity 
and comeliness. 

Though sore I deem this news of Roderick, that his 
body lieth not in this land in the tomb of his fathers, 
other tidings I hear that are not less sad, though I will 
not trust them, — I mislike to relate them. 


Gur rò bheag a shaoil mi 665 

Ri mo shaoghal gun èisd'mid, 
Gun cluinneamaid Leòdaich 

Bhith 'gam fògradh à'n oighreachd, JR./ 

Is a'n còraichean glana 

Is a'm fearainn gun deidh air, 670 

Is ar ranntannan farsaing 

Nan rachte 'nam feum sud. 

Gun eireadh 'nad aobhar 

Clann Raghnaill 's Clann Domhnaill 
Agus tigh Mhic Ghille Eathain 675 

Bha daingeann 'nur seòrsa, 
Agus fir Ghlinne Garadh 

Nail thairis a Cnòideart, 
Mar sud is Clann Chamshroin 

O champ Inbhir Lòchaidh. 680 

Is beag an t-iongnadh Clann Choinnich 

Dhèanamh oireachd mu d' ghualainn 
Is gun robh thu 'nam fineachd 

Air t'fhilleadh tri uairean. 
Is e mo chreach gun do chinneadh 685 

Bhith mu chruinneachadh t'uaighe, 
No glaodh do mhnà-muinntir, 

Is nach cluinntear 'san uair-s' i. 

Tha mo ch^ist air an oighre 

Tha a staoidhle 'sna Hearadh, 690 

Gar nach deach thu 'san tuam ud 

Far am bu dual duit o d' sheanair. 
Gur iomadh fuil uaibhreach 

A dh'fhuaraich ad bhallaibh 
De shloinneadh nan righrean 695 

Leis na chiosaicheadh Manainn. 


682, eireachd. S.; eiridh SO. 691. gar, S.; ged SO. 


How little I ever dreamed that in my lifetime we should 
hear of the MacLeods' exile from their heritage and 
from their clear rights,, and that against their will, 
though our allies be widespread should need of them 

To thy cause would rally Clan Ranald and Clan Donald, 
and the house of Maclean firmly knit in friendship 
with thee; over from Knoydart the men of Glen 
Garry would come, and Clan Cameron withal from 
the stronghold of Inverlochy. 

No marvel though the Mackenzies should gather round 
thy shoulder, since thou hadst a threefold bond of 
kinship with their clan; alas that thy kin were not 
gathered about thy grave, nor thy handmaid's wail 
then heard, since it is heard not now. 

I am grieved for the heir who was styled upon Harris, 
though he is not laid in the tomb of his grandsire; 
how much of haughty blood hath chilled in thy veins, 
derived from a line of kings who laid Man under 


/ Is e mo ghaol-sa an sliochd foirmeil 

Bh'air sliochd Olghair is Ochraidh, 
O bhaile na Boirbhe 

Is ann a staoidhleadh tu an toiseach; ) 700 1 

Gur iomadh fuil mhordha J j 

Bha reòta 's a' chorp ud: 
De shliochd àrmunn Chinn-tire, 

larla He agus Rois thu. ^ 

' Mhic Iain Stiùbhairt na h-Apunn, 705 

Ged is gasda an duine òg thu, 
Ged tha Stiùbhartaich beach dail, 

lad tapaidh 'n am fòirneirt, 
Na gabh-sa meannma no aiteas 

Anns an staid ud nach coir dhuit: 710 ; 

Cha toir thu i dh'aindeoin 

Is chan fhaigh thu le deoin i. 

Cuime an tigeadh fear coigreach /. / / / 

Do thagradh ur n-oighreachd? Q/.fW^t^^'^ 

Gar nach 'eil e ro dhearbhta 715 

Gur searbh e ri eisdeachd; 
Ged tha sinne air ar creachadh 

Mu chloinn mhac an fhir fheiUdh, 
SHochd Ruairidh mhoir allail, 

Is gur airidh iad fein oirr'. / 720 

715. gar, 5.; ged, SO. 


Dearly I love the stately race, seed of Olgar and Ochraidh; 
from the city of Bergen did thy first title spring. How 
much of stately blood was frozen in thy body, thou of 
the race of Kintyre's warriors, of the earls of Ross and 
of Islay. 

And thou, Stewart of Appin, though thou art a goodly 
youth: though the Stewarts are prudent, and heroic 
in time of violence: take thou not comfort nor joy in 
that estate not justly thine; perforce thou shalt not 
take it, nor get it with goodwill of the giver. 

Wherefore should a stranger come to implead your 
heritage.'' Though it be not well proven, it is bitter to 
hear. Though we are despoiled of the sons of the 
generous one, the race of Roderick great and renowned, 
they alone are worthy thereof. 

I v. / 

An Crònan 

An naidheachd so an de 

Aighearach è: 

Moladh do'n leigh 

Thug malairt do m' cheill: 

Nis teannaidh mi fein ri crònan. 725 

Beannachd do'n bheul 

Dh'aithris an sgeul 

Dh'fhàg fallain mo chre; 

Cha ghearain mi fein 

Na chailleadh 's na dh'eug 730 

Is mo leanabh 'nan deidh comhshlàn. , 

Nam biodh agamsa fion 

Gum b'ait leam a dhiol 

Air slàinte do thighinn 

Gu d' chàirdean 's gu d' thir; 735 

Mhic àrmuinn mo ghaoil, 

B'e m'àrdan 's mo phris ' 

Alach mo Righ thogbhail. ] 

Is fàth mire dhuinn fein 

Is do 'n chinneadh gu leir 740 

Do philleadh o'n eug; 

Is milis an sgeul, 

Is binne na gleus orghan. 

721 ff. So E., SO.; M. has: 

Chualas nuaidheachd an de 

'S aighir leom fhein (corr. from aighireach) 

Moladh di«peigh 

Thug cobhair do d'chreidh. 
725. 'Nis teannaidh, SO.; nois o theannas, E., M. 
728. om. SO.; mo chre, E.; do chreadh, M. 

731. So E.; na dheidh, SO.; nan deis {written above deidh) 's beo 
shlaint, M. 


The Croon 

This message of yesterday, 'tis joyous; praised be the 
healer that hath turned my spirit towards health. 
Now will I begin a croon. 

Blessed be the mouth that told the tale that hath made 
my body sound; those that are lost, those that are 
dead, I will not lament, for my child is left alive and 

Had I wine I would deem it a joy to drink it to the toast 
of thy return to thy friends and thine own land, thou 
son of the warrior of my love; my pride and prize it 
would be to rear up my king's brood. 

A cause of mirthfulness to us and all of our blood is thy 
return from death; sweet is the tale, more melodiou 
than the tuned music of organs. 


Is e m'aiteas gu dearbh 

Gun glacar grad shealbh 745 

An grunnd farsaing nan sealg 

Is an caisteal nan arm 

Leis a' mhacaomh d'an ainm Tormod. 

Tha mo dhuil-sa ann an Dia 

Gur mùirneach do thriall 750 

Gu dun ud nan cliar 

Far am bu dùthchas do m' thriath 

Bhiodh gu fiùghantach fial foirmeil. 

Gu dun turaideach àrd, 

B'e sud innis nam bard 755 

Is nam filidh ri dan 

Far am bu mhinig an tàmh: 

Cha b'ionad gun bhlàths dhoibh sud. 

Gu àros nach crion 

Am bi gàirich nam piob 760 

Is nan clàrsach a ris 

Le deàrrsadh nam pios 

A' cur sàraidh air fion 

Is 'ga leigeadh an gniomh òircheard. 

Buadhach am mac, 76s 

Uasal an t-slat 

D'an dual a bhith ceart 

Cruadalach pailt 

Duaismhor am beachd 

Ruaimneach an neart Leòdach. 770 

756. So E. SO.; M. )ias: 

Far 'm bu mhinig leo tamh 

gabhail iomairt re daimh, 

cha b'iongantach dhaibh 

Righl bu ro mhor do chairdeas leo sin. 

769. So E., SO.; ruaishmor, gl. grand, M. 

770. Ruaineach, explained by làidir, E. 


In truth I am blithe that the hunt's wide ground and the 
castle of arms will right soon be possessed by the youth 
that is named Norman. 

My hope is in God for a gay journey for thee to yonder 
fortress of the poet bands, where my lord was wont 
to dwell; generous, free-handed, stately was he: 

To the tall battlemented tower that was the resting-place 
of bards and makers of song, where often they reposed; 
for them it was a place that lacked not warmth: 

To the dwelling that is not niggardly, wherein is the roar 
of pipes, and anon the sound of harps, with the glearo 
of silver cups, making wine flow free, and pouring it 
into the goldsmith's handiwork. 

Victorious is the son, noble the scion to whom 'tis 
nature to be just, hardy, open-handed, a MacLeod 
bounteous of spirit and strong of might. 


Fiùran na cluain 

Dhùisg 'san deagh uair, 

Is dùth dhuit dol suas 

An cliù 's ann am buaidh: 

Is dùthchas do m' luaidh 775 

Bhith gu fiùghantach suairc ceoilbhinn. 

Fasan bu dual 

Fantalach buan, 

Socrach ri tuaith, 

Cosgail ri cuairt, 780 

Coisionta cruaidh 

Am brosnachadh sluaigh, 

A' mosgladh an uair fòirneirt. 

Lean-sa 's na trèig 

Cleachdamh is beus 785 

T'aiteim gu lèir, 

Macanta sèimh, 

Pailt ri luchd theud, 

Gaisgeil am feum, 

Neartmhor an dèidh tòrachd. 79« 

781 ff. So E., SO. ; M. has: 

Tosach dol suas 
Cosgaradh cruaidh 
Cosant ann uair doruinn. 

Tha thu shliochd nam fear ùr, 

Tha fo lie ann san uir; 

'S e dh'fhag shilteach mo shuil, 

Ge do rigeadh mi 'n crun, 

Naeh fhaic mi fear dhiubh 

Ach ann gliocas an cliuth sa' morchuis. 

Sliochd Olgair nan Lann, &c. 


Sapling of the meadow, that hast awaked in the good 
hour, it is native to thee to increase in fame and prowess; 
it is my dear one's heritage to be generous, courtly, 
with sweet music around thee. 

An inherited wont, deep-set and abiding: to be gentle 
towards tenantry, lavish to wandering bards, skilled 
and hardy in exhorting a host, awaking in the hour of 

Follow thou and forsake not the use and practice of thy 
kindred all: mild and gentle, liberal to harpers, valor- 
ous at need, mighty in pursuit. 


De shliochd Olghair nan lann 

Thogadh sròiltean ri crann: 

An uair a thòisich iad ann 

Cha bu lionsgaradh gann, 

Fir a b'fhirinneach bann, 795 

Priseil an dream, 

Rioghail gun chall còrach. 

Tog colg ort a ghaoil! 

Bi ro chalma is gum faod; 

Gur dearbhtha dhuit, laoich, 800 

Do chinneadh nach faoin 

Thig ort as gach taobh gu d' chomhnadh. 

Uasal an treud, 

Deas cruadalach treun 

Tha an dualchas dhuit fein, 805 

Theid mu d' ghuaillibh ri t'fheum 

De shliochd Ruairidh mhoir fheil; 

Cuir-sa suas, a Mhic De, an t-òg rìgh. 

Tha na Gàidheil gu leir 

Cho càirdeach dhuit fein, 810 

Is gur feairrde thu gu t'fheum 

Sir Domhnall a Slèit', 

Ceannard nan ceud, 

Ceannsgalach treun ròghlic. 

Is maith mo bharail 's mo bheachd 815 

Air na fiùrain as leat 

Gu carantach ceart: 

Is ann de bharrachd do neirt 

Mac mhic Ailein is da mhac Dhomhnaill. 

819. Mac Mhic Ailein is da Mhac Dhonuill, M.; 
Mac mhic Ailein 's a mhac 
Thig le faram am feachd 
Go d' charaid a chasg t fhoirneart, E. Mnd so SO. 


Of the descendants of Olgar of sword-blades, who were 
wont to raise satin pennons to mast; when they entered 
the fray they were no meagre handful, men true to 
their bond, a precious race, royal, without loss of 

Beloved, let thy wrathful spirit be seen; be very mighty 
for thou canst. It is proven to thee, thou hero, that 
from every side to aid thee will come thy clan that are 
not feeble. 

Noble is the flock, comely, hardy and strong, that are 
from of old of thine allegiance, that will come about 
thy shoulders at thy need, sprung of the race of great 
Roderick the generous. O Son of God, do Thou raise 
up the young king! 

The Gaels all are thy friends; Sir Donald of Sleat will 
aid thy need, a chieftain of hundreds, masterful, 
mighty, wise exceedingly. 

Good I deem the young warriors who are lovingly and 
truly thine; pre-eminent among thy force are Clan 
Ranald and the two sons of Donald. 


A Gleann Garadh a nuas 820 

Thig am barantas sluaigh 

Nach mealladh ort uair: 

Cha bu charantas fuar 

Na fir sin o chluain Chnòideart. 

Is leat Mac Shimidh o'n Aird, 825 

Is Mac Coinnich Chinn tSàil, 

Thèid ad iomairt gun dàil 

Le h-iomadaidh gràidh; 

Cha b'iongantach dhàibh 

Is gur h-iomadh do phàirt dhoibh sin. 830 

Is goirt an naidheachd 's gur cruaidh 

Mac Ghille Eathain bhith uainn, 

Gun a thigheadas suas: 

Bha do cheangal ris buan, 

T'ursainn-chatha ri uair dòrainn. 83s 

B'iomad gasan gun chealg 

Bu deas faicheil fo arm 

Bheireadh ceartachadh garbh 

Is iad a chlàistinn ort fearg 

Eadar Breacachadh dearg is Bròlas. 840 

Tha mi ag acain mar chall 

lad a thachairt gun cheann 

Fo chasaibh nan Gall 

Gun do phearsa bhith ann: 

Mo chruaidh-chàs nach gann 845 

Thu bhith fad anns an Fhraing air fògradh. 

836. gasan, explained by " a young man ",E.; garsan, gl. fleasgach laidir, M. 

837. faicheil M. ; faicsin E. \ faicinn SO. 

838. ceartacha(dh) £•. , 50. ; ceartachdain M. 

840. Breacachadh {corr. from Breacaisidh) dhearg, M. ; gu dearbh is 
inserted above the line, evid. to replace dhearg, which is not erased; 
Breacachadh thall E. ; Bràcadal thall SO. 

846. Do bhi', E. 


Down from Glen Garry will come to safeguard thee 
hosts that would fail thee never; theirs were no cold 
love, these men from the plain of Knoydart. 

Fraser from the Aird is with thee, and Mackenzie from 
Kintail; right speedily with love unbounded they will 
come to thy battle-play; nor were that strange in 
them, for thou and they are close akin. 

Bitter and hard is the news that Maclean is not with us 
and his people not in arms; thou wert lastingly bound 
to him, thy pillar of battle in the hour of danger. 

Between red Breacachadh and Brolas there is many a 
slim youth without guile, comely and martial of aspect 
under arms, that would deal stern justice should they 
hear thou wert in wrath. 

As a loss I lament it that they are without leader under 
the Saxon's foot, and thou in absence; full sorry is 
my case, that thou art long in France an exile. 


A Chrìosd, cinnich thu fèin 

An spionnadh 's an cèill 

Gu cinneadail treun 

An ionad na dh'eug, 850 

A mhic an fhir nach d'fhuair beum 

Is a ghineadh o'n chre ròghlain. 

A Righ nan gràs 

Bi fèin mar ghàrd 

Air feum mo ghràidh, 855 

Is dean oighre slàn 

Do'n teaghlach àigh 

Bu mheamhrach dàimh, 

D'an robh coibhneas air bhàrr sòlais. 


In Christ's name do thou thyself grow in vigour and 
sense, zealous for thy clan and mighty, in place of 
those dead, thou son of the man that found not re- 
proach and was sprung of flesh full fair. 

O King of grace, be Thyself as a guard over my loved 
one's need, and raise up an heir complete to the blest 
house that was mindful of kin, and that had joy and -^ 
kindliness besides. 

f^iÀltM Fuigheall 

Thèid mi le m' dheoin 860 

Do dhùthaich Mhic Leoid, 
M'iùl air a' mhòr luachach sin. 

Bu chòir dhomh gum bi 

M'eòlas 'san tìr 

Leòdach mur piil cruadal mi; 865 

Siùbhlaidh mi an iar 

Troimh dhùbhlachd nan sian 

Do'n tùr g'am bi triall thuathcheathairn, 

O'n chualas an sgeul 

Buadhach gun bhreug 870 

Rinn acain mo chlèibhe fhuadachadh. 

Chì mi MacLeoid, 

Is prìseil an t-òg 

Rìomhach gu mòr buadhalach, 

Bho Olghar nan lann 875 

Chuireadh sròiltean ri crann, 
Is Leòdaich an dream uabharra. 

Eiridh na fuinn 

Ghleusta air na suinn, 

Is feumail ri àm cruadail iad, 880 

Na fiùranan garg, 

An am rùsgadh nan arm 

Is cliuiteach an t-ainm fhuaras leibh. 

SÌ0I Tormoid nan sgiath 

Foirmeileach fial, 885 

Dh'eireadh do shluagh luathlàmhach; 

862. Mo iùl air a bhord luath-bhineach, M. 867. O yousach nan bian M. 
868. n'duil gun raibh mian toirmalach, M. 869 ff. M. has: 

Chualus an de sceul luathbhineach gun bhreig 

'S buaghthail an t eud coinbhailach. 


A Fragment 

With right good will I'll sail to the land of MacLeod, 
steering a course for that man of great worth. 

It is right that I shall know my way in MacLeod's domain, 
if hard weather repulse me not. 

Westward I'll voyage through the lowering of the storms, 
to the tower to which tenantry resort, 

Since I have heard the precious news and true, that 
hath banished the pang in my breast. 

MacLeod I shall behold, that youth high in esteem, 
comely of aspect and rich in virtues; 

Sprung from Olgar of sword-blades, that would raise 
satin pennons to mast — MacLeods are of that haughty 

Tuneful airs shall rise in honour of the warriors, right 
handy in time of hardihood are they; 

The stern young warriors that when weapons are bared 
have won them a name renowned. 

The targe-bearing race of Tormod, stately and generous, 
thy swift-handed host would arise. 


Dealradh nam pios, 
Torman nam piob, 
Is dearbh' gum bu leibh an dualachas. 

Thàinig teachdair do'n tir 890 

Gu macanta min, 

Is ait leam gach ni chualas leam, 

O Dhùn Bheagain nan steud 

Anns am freagair luchd-theud 

Bheir greis air gach sgeul buaidh-ghlòireach. 895 

An uair chuireadh na laoich 

Loingeas air chaol 

Turus ri gaoith ghluaiste leibh, 

O bharraibh nan crann 

Gu tarruing nam ball 900 

Teannachadh teann suas rithe; 

lomairt gu leoir 

Mar ri Mac Leoid 

Chàraich fo shròl uain-dhaite i, 

Bho Aros an fhion 90s 

Gu talla nam pios: 

Gum beannaich mo righ an t-uasal ud. 

905. Aros by conjecture ; àrois SO. ; 


Gleam of silver cups, roar of the pipes — clearly ye are 
your sires' worthy sons! 

To land came a courier, gently and kindly (joyful to 
me every word that I heard), 

From Dunvegan of steeds, wherein to each other respond 
harpers that will give a spell of each choice-worded 

When the heroes set the craft afloat upon the kyle, a 
voyage into the wind ye would ply then. 

From the mast-heads aloft to the halyards below, do ye 
keep her close in to the wind. 

Frolic in plenty is found with MacLeod, who hath 
decked her with green-hued satin. 

From Aros of wine to the hall of silver goblets — the 
blessing of my king on that noble one! 


Tha ulaidh orm an uamharrachd, 

Mo ghibhte phriseil uasal thu, 

Mo leug bu llonmhor buadhan thu, 91 

Chan fhaigh an righ ri t'fhuasgladh thu: 

Air m'fhocal fior o'n fhuair mi thu 

Cha tugainn uam air or thu. 

I Tha tasgaidh ann an diomhaireachd 

O chionn an fhad-s' de bhHadhnachan; 91 

Cha b'airgiod glas 's cha b'iarann e 
Ach Ridire glic riaghailteach 
■^' Fhuair rneas is gHocas iarlachan: 

O'n fhuair mi nis ri t'iarraidh thu 
Mathadh Dia dhuit e, Shir Domhnall, 92 

^ Bu chuid mhor de m'araichdean thu, 

Mo phreasan snuadhach dealbhach thu, 

Mo long bu Uonmhor seanchas ort 

Bu mheasail buadhail ainmeil thu; 

Nan leiginn fein air dearmad thu 92 

Gu dearbhtha cha b'i choir i. 

^- O's craobh de'n abhall phriseil thu, 

De'n mheas bu ghasda brioghalachd, 
O ghrunnd na fala firinnich 
D'am b'fhasan riamh an rioghalachd: 93 

Nam b'ann do lorg do shinnsir mi 
Gun innsinn-se na b'eòl domh. 

1 !_ Gu meal thu fein do staoidhlichean 

Is gach fearann tha an oighreachd dhuit, 

Dun-tuilm an talamh deagh-mhaiseach 93 

Am biodh ceir 'ga las' an coinnleiribh 

Is fion 'ga ÒI gu saoibhir ann 

Am piosa glasa soillsichte 

An tigh farsaing meadhrach ceòlmhor. 

924. Bha measail, MS., ace. 

To MacDonald 

I have a treasure exceeding great; my precious noble 
guerdon art thou, my jewel of many virtues thou; the 
king himself shall not sunder us, for since I have won 
thee, by my word I would not part with thee for gold. 

There hath been a hoard these many years bestowed in 
secrecy; it was not wan silver nor yet was it iron, but 
a Knight wise and sedate, dowered with the renown 
and wisdom of earls; now that I have won thee as 
thou wouldst wish, may God make it good to thee, 
Sir Donald! 

A boon not among the least wert thou to me, my shapely 
beauteous little copse; my ship, the theme of many 
a history, renowned, victorious, and famous; of a 
truth it were injustice were I to leave thee in neglect. 

For thou art a bough of the precious apple-tree, of fruit 
right good and sappy, uprising from the pure true 
blood whose fashion loyalty ever was; if it were trac- 
ing thine ancestry I were, what I knew I should declare. 

Mayest thou have joy of all thy titles and all the land that 
is thine heritage; the lovely country of Duntulm, 
wherein waxen candles blaze, and wine is drunk right 
freely there from wan and gleaming cups of silver in 
a mansion wide and joyous and full of music. 


/3 Do chùirt a b' fhiorghlan foidearachd 940 

Is bu mhath làmh-sgrìobhth' air paipearan; 
Bha cuid do mhiann air maighdeannan 
Bhiodh an gùintean sìoda fraoidhneiseach 
Is iad diiinte sios mu'n staighisean, 
Is gun toir iad cios gun fhaighneachd 94s 

Do aon strainnseir thig air fògradh. 

t Tha deagh ghàrd air th'ainmealachd, 

Do chàirdean an t-Iarl Earra-Ghàidhealach, 

Mac Coinnich is Morair Tairbeirt leat, 

Fir a' Bhealaich is Bhràid Albann leat, 950 

Gleann Garadh 's fir nan Garbhchrioch leat, 

Is an Colla is cha bu chearbach e, 

Is na Camshronaich o Lòchaidh. 

(^ Mac Aoidh nam bratach meanmnach leat, 

Siol Airt is Chuinn is Chormaic leat, ^/ 955 

Na Collanan ciosail armaflteach ' 

Le'n loingeis luchdmhoir ghealbhreidich 
Air fairge is iad a' seòladh. 

/0 An codal no bhith an dùsgadh dhuit 

Bu leat an Caiptein Mùideartach 960 

Is na dh'eireadh leis de fhiùranaibh, 

Is cha bu neart gun dùrachd e, 

Is gur beachd learn gum bi biiithas anns 

A' chilis mu'm bi sibh deònach. 

y Ghleidhinn prasgan fathast duit: >^ 965 

Siol Torcuill na tha air ghleidheadh dhiubh, 
Clann Fhionghain 's fir an t-Stratha leat; 
Bu dileas duit na tighean ud: /v a-^ 

Mur cumadh criin no claidheamh iad 
Gum faighinn-sa na's leoir dhuit. 970 

941. So by conjecture, or less likely, lamh-sgiath air saighdearan. MS. has 
lamh sgriobh air saighdearan, ace. to Henderson. 942. Bu chuid, MS. 
943. an not in MS. 969. iad not in MS. 



Right noble was the pastime of thy court, and fair thy 
handwriting upon paper. Part of thy desire was in 
maidens, whose fringed gowns of silk would be 
gathered close about their bodices; and they will not 
be slow to welcome every exiled stranger. 

Well fenced about is thy renown, for all thy friends are 
with thee, the Earl of Argyll, and Mackenzie, the lord 
of Tarbat, the men of Tay mouth and Breadalbane, 
Glen Garry and the men of the Rough Bounds, and the 
great CoUa, 'tis not he would fail, and the Camerons 
from Lochy. 

With thee is Mackay of warlike banners, with thee the 
seed of Art and Conn and Cor mac; the race of Colla 
of vast armies and heavy tributes, with their full- 
laden white-sailed fleet as they sail upon the ocean. 

Be thou waking or be thou sleeping, with thee the Captain 
of Moydart would be, and ever}^ warrior youth that 
would rise with him; his might were backed with good 
intent, and I warrant there will be glory in the cause 
that these embrace! 

Another host I'd furnish thee, the seed of Torquil — as 
many as remain of them; the Mackinnons and the men 
of Strath, to thee these houses were right faithful; 
should crown or sword not keep them back, I'd find 
enough of hosts for thee. 


Aig lionmhorachd do chàirdeis riu 

Cha sgriobhar iad air phaipearan; >j^ 

Bidh Frisealaich, bidh Granndaich leat, 

Bidh Rothaich a thaobh nàduir leat 

Nan cumadh iad an àbhaist riut 975 

'Gad chur 'san àite an coir dhuit. 

C( Dh'eireadh leat na Dubhghlasaich 

A thaobh do mhàthar chùramaich: 
Bidh còig ciad gaisgeach cùirteil ann 
Is gum b'e fàth mo dhurachd dhaibh 980 

lad bhith dhuit cho dubailte 
Is nach diùltadh iad do chomhnadh. 

i> Nan tigeadh aire no eiginn ort 

Gun eireadh feachd a Eirinn leat; 

larl Antruim nan each ceumnach leat 985 

Is an sliochd sin Mhic Feilim leat, 

Nan cluinnte foirm air fheumalachd 

Gun eireadh leat am mor-shluagh. 

^ Gun eireadh leat gun amharus 

Feachd Iain Mhoir 's Iain Chathanaich 990 

Is an dream dhireach Leathanach 

Is fir Chinn-tire is Latharna, 

Is gur mairg luchd beurla chaitheadh ort 

Is na maithean ud an tòir orr'. 

<l Gur cian 's gur fad an aimsir 995 

O'n chuala mi aig seanchaidhibh 
Nar thàinig sibh do na talmhaintean-sa 
/ Gur gniomh a chaidh a dhearbhadh gun 
I^Robh tigh is leth na h-Albann a^r 
^ A shealbhachadh an coir dhuibh. 1000 

987. Probably for air th' fheumalachd. 997. do, -sa suppl. Henderson. <; 


For the number of those that are thy friends, they cannot 
be chronicled on paper; the Erasers and the Grants 
will be with thee, the Munros ('tis their nature) will 
be with thee, did they maintain their wont towards 
thee and set thee in thy rightful place. 

With thee would rise the Douglases, kin of thine honoured 
mother; five hundred courtly heroes will be there, 
and it were the pith of my wish for them that they be 
so firmly knit to thee that they will not deny thee 

Were straits or stress to trouble thee, a host from Ireland 
would rise with thee; Antrim's earl of pacing steeds 
would join thee; and MacFelim's noble race, should 
they hear it said thou wert in need, their mighty force 
would come to aid thee. 

Assuredly would rise with thee the host of Iain Mor 
and Iain Cathanach, and the true race of Maclean, 
and the men of Kintyre and Lome; and woe to the 
lowlanders that should aim at thee when these nobles 
are in pursuit of them! 

Full long is the time since I heard historians relate, when 

first to these lands ye came, that then it was proven . 

how aU/ Scotland and a house to boot were possessed ^ ^^ W 
by you of right. 


do Iain mac Shir Tormoid Mhic Leoid air 
dhi bràth thombaca fhaotainn uaidh. 

Hithill uthill agus ò 
hithill 6 horiunnan 
hithill uthill agus 6 
hithill oho horiunnan 
hithill uthill agus ò 
hithill 6 horiunnan 
faillill Ò huUill 6 
ho ri ghealladh ill an, 

Ged a theid mi do m' leabaidh 

Chan e cadal as miannach learn 
Aig ro mheud na tuile 

Is mo mhuileann gun iarann air; 
Tha a' mholtair ri pàidheadh 

Mur cailltear am bliadhna mi, 
Is gur feumail domh faighinn 

Ged a gheibhinn an iasajd i. 

Tha mo chean air a' chlachair 

Rinn m'aigne-sa riarachadh, loio 

Fear mor a' bheoil mheachair, 

Ge tosdach gur briathrach thu: 
Gum faighinn air m'fhacal 

Na caisteil ged iarrainn iad: 
A cheart aindeoin mo stàta, 1015 

Gun chàraich sud fiachan orm. 

Ged a thubhairt mi riut clachair 
Air m'fhacal cha b'fhior dhomh e; 

Gur rioghail do shloinneadh 

Is gur soilleir ri iarraidh e: 1020 

looi. So S., so.; G» do reach mi 'm leabuidh, E.; Ge socair mo leaba 
M. 1007. So E., S., SO.; gu'm bu mhianach leom agam, M. 



to Iain son of Sir Norman, on his presenting 
her with a snuff-mull. 

Hithill uthill agus o. 

Though I go to my bed it is not sleep I desire, for the 
flood is so great and my mill is unshod; the mill-due 
is to be paid if this year is not to ruin me, and get it 
I must, though it be that I borrow it. 

I dearly love this mason that hath satisfied my spirit; 
thou great one of sweet-speaking mouth, though 
silent thou art eloquent; on my word, the castles 
themselves I'd get for the asking, and despite my 
state that hath laid me under a debt. 

Though I called thee a mason, by my word I spoke 
falsely; for royal is thy lineage, and full manifest to 


Fìor Leòdach ùr gasda 

Foinnidh beachdail glic fialaidh thu, 
De shliochd nam fear flathail 

Bu mhath an ceann chliaranach. 

l^ . . . 

Ach a mhic ud Shir Tormoid 1025 

Gun soirbhich gach bliadhna dhuit 
A chur buaidhe air do shliochd-sa 

Agus piseach air t'iarmadan; 
Is do'n chuid eile chloinn t'athar 

Anns gach rathad a thriallas iad, 1030 

Gu robh toradh mo dhùrachd 

Dol an run mar bu mhiannach learn. 

An uair a theid thu do'n fhireach 

Is ro mhath chinneas am fiadhach leat, 
Le do lomhainn chon ghleusta 1035 

Ann do dheidh 'n uair a thrialladh tu: 
Sin is cuilbhjr caol cinnteach 

Cruaidh direach gun fhiaradh ann; 
Bu til sealgair na h-eilde, 

A' choilich is na Hath-chirce. //* 1040 


Tha mo chean air an Ruairidh, 

Gur luaimneach mu d' sgeula mi; 
Fior bhoinne geal suairc thu, 

Am bheil uaisle na peucaige, 
Air an d'fhàs gn ciil dualach 1045 

Is e 'na chuachagan teudbhuidhe; 
Sin is urla ghlan shuairce: 

Cha bu tuairisgeul breugach e. ^ 

1024. chliaranach, E., S., SO.; chharan iad, M. 1039. na h-eilid, S. 
SO. and so E. M. transposes eihd and choilich. The rime seems defective. 

-^ i>w.^ u-^^A ( -i^ <^^£^>) ^^^^^ 

SONG 8s 

trace. A true MacLeod fresh and splendid art thou, 
comely, prudent, wise, and generous, of the race of 
princely heroes, good as a host to poet bands. 

But, thou son of Sir Norman, may every year prosper 
thee, to give success to thy descendants and increase 
to thy posterity; and for the rest of thy sire's children 
in every way they shall fare, may the fruit of my good 
wishes be accomplished for them as I would desire. 

When thou goest to the hill, the hunt goeth right well 
with thee, with thine eager leash of hounds at thy heel 
in thy travelling; a slender sure gun withal, tough and 
straight, with no bend in it; hunter of the hind wert 
thou, of the blackcock and the moorhen. 

I dearly love this Roderick — thy news hath stirred my 
spirit; a pure and gentle blood-drop art thou, dowered 
with the brilliance of the peacock; with thy rich 
curling hair all golden as harp-strings, a bright and 
gentle countenance withal; that were no false narration 
of thy beauty. 


Slàn iomramh dhuit Iain, 

Guma rathail a dh'eireas duit, 1050 

Is tu mac an deagh athar 

Bha gu mathasach meadhrachail, 
Bha gu furbhailteach daonnairceach 

Faoilteachail deirceachail; 
Sàr cheannard air trup thu 'W 1055 

Nan cuirte leat feum orra, 

Gur àlainn am marcach 

Air each an glaic diollaid thu, 
Is tu conbhail do phearsa 

Ann an cleachdamh mar dh'iarrainn duit: 1060 
Thigeadh sud ann ad làimh-sa 

Lann Spàinteach ghorm dhias-fhada 
Is paidhir mhath phiostal 

Air crios nam ball sniomhaineach. 

1056. So E., S., SO.; nan cuirte mar fhiacha e M. 1061. So E., &c 
Thigidgh (sic) sud ort o'n cheardaich, M. 

SONG 87 

Safe faring to thee, Iain, may good luck befall thee; 
thou son of the good sire that was benign and joyous- 
hearted, that was hospitable and humane, welcoming 
and charitable; prime leader of a host wert thou 
when thou didst need their service. 

Set in a saddle's hollow thou art a comely cavalier, 
keeping thy body in martial exercise, as I would ask 
for thee; well would thine hand fit a Spanish blade 
blue and long-pointed, and a good pair of pistols on a 
spiral-embossed belt. 


do Shir Tormod Mac Leoid a dh'eug air an 

treas la de'n Mhàirt, anns a' bhliadhna 


Cha surd cadail 1065 

An rùn-s' air m'aigne, 

Mo shùil frasach 

Gun siird macnais 

'S a' chiiirt a chleachd mi 

Sgeul ùr ait ri eisdeachd. 1070 

Is trom an cudthrom so dhrùidh, 
Dh'fhàg mo chuislein gun lùth, 
Is trie snighe mo shùl 
A' tuiteam gu dlijth, 

Chain mi iuchair mo chùil: 1075 

An cuideachd luchd-ciuil cha teid mi. 

Mo neart 's mo threoir 

Fo thasgaidh bhòrd, 

Sàr mhac Mhic Leoid 

Nam brataeh sròil, 1080 

Bu phailt mu'n or, 

Bu bhinn caismeachd sgeoil 

Aig luchd-astair is ceoil na h-Eireann. 

Co neach d'an eòl 

Fear t' fhasain beò 1085 

Am blasdachd beoil 

Is am maise neoil, 

An gaisge gleois 

An ceart 's an coir, 

Gun airceas no sgleò fèile? 1090 

1072. So BGh., after SO.; an lùs E. 1075. chùil BGh., SO., E.; ? chiuil. 


for Sir Norman MacLeod of Bernera 

My spirit inclineth not to sleep's sweet mood; mine eye <C 
is tearful, uncheered by mirth, in the court where I 
was wont to hearken a new and pleasant tale. 

A great heaviness is this that hath come upon me and 
left my veins without vigour; thick and fast my tear- 
drops fall. I have lost the key of my treasure-house ; ^ 
in the company of music-makers I will not go. 

Bestowed under boards are my strength and my might, 
MacLeod's excellent son of satin banners, who was 
unstinted of gold, who was a melodious theme of story 
among the wandering bards and minstrels of Ireland. 

Who can point out a man living thy peer in sweetness 
of speech, in beauty of hue, in active prowess and in 
justice and right, in liberality without dearth or un- 


Dh'fhalbh mo shòlas: 

Marbh mo Leòdach 

Calma cròdha 

Meanmnach ròghlic; 

Dhearbh mo sgeoil-sa 1095 

Seanchas eòlais 

Gun chearb foghluim: 

Dealbhach ròghlan t'èagasg. ^ 

An treas la de'n Mhàirt 

Dh'fhalbh m'aighear gu bràth; iioo 

B'i sud saighead mo chràidh 

Bhith 'g amharc do bhàis, 

A ghnùis fhlathasach àilt, 

A dheagh mhic rathail 

An àrmuinn euchdaich. 1105 

Mac Ruairidh reachdmhoir 
Uaibhrich bheachdail, 
Bu bhuaidh leatsa 
Dualchas farsaing, 

Snuadh ghlaine pearsa, mo 

Cruadal 's smachd gun eucoir. ly^ 

Uaill is aiteas 

Is ann bhuat gu faighte, X 

Ri uair ceartais 

Fuasgladh facail 1115 

Gun ghruaim gun lasan 
Gu suairce snasda reusant'. 

Fo bhùird an cistidh 
Chaidh grunnd a' ghliocais, 
Fear fìùghant miosail iiao 

Cuilmeach gibhteil, 
An robh cliù gun bhristeadh: 
Chaidh ùr fo lie air m'eudail. 

1118. So E., BGh.; na ciste, SO. 



My gladness is gone; dead is my MacLeod strong and 
valorous, spirited and sage; the report of those who 
knew him attests my tale without defect of knowledge; 
shapely and full fair was thy countenance. 

On the third day of March my joy left me for ever; to 
behold thee dead was the arrow that wounded me 
thou princely noble countenance, thou the valorous 
warrior's excellent grace-dowered son. 

Son of Roderick the puissant, haughty and wise, these -^C 
thou deemed virtues: a wide inheritance, beauty of 
person, hardiness, mastery without injustice. 

In thee would be found dignity and blitheness; in the 
hour of judgment thou wouldst solve the case not with 
suUenness or anger, but courtly, orderly, with reason. 

Beneath boards in a coffin is laid the prop of wisdom, a 
man benevolent and revered, given to feasting and 
bestowal of gifts, in whom was found good fame without 
flaw; under a grave-stone the dust doth lie upon my 


Gnùis na glaine 

Chuireadh sunnd air fearaibh, 1125 

Air each criiidheach ceannard 

Is lann ùr thana ort 

Am beairt dhlùth dhainginn 

Air CÙ1 nan clannfhalt teudbhuidh'. 

Is iomadh fear aineoil 1130 

Is aoidh 's luchd ealaidh 
Bheir turnais tamall 
Air crùintidh mhalairt 
Air iùl 's air aithne: 

Bu chliù gun aithris bhreug e. 1135 

Bu tu an t-siothshaimh charaid 
Ri am tighinn gu baile, 
01 dian aig fearaibh 
Gun stri gun charraid, 

Is bu mhiann leat mar riut 114° 

Luchd innse air annas sgeula. 

Bu trie uidh chàirdean 

Gu d' dhiin àghmhor 

Suilbhir fàilteach 

Cuilmmhor stàtail 1145 

Gun bhuirb gun àrdan, 

Gun diùh air mhàl nan deirceach. 

Thu a sliochd Olghair 

Bu mhor morghail, 

Nan seòl corrbheann 1150 

Is nan corn gormghlas, 

Nan ceòl orghan 

Is nan seòd bu bhorb ri eiginn. 

1 125. sunnd, SO.; sunt, E.; surd, BGh. 1144. fàilteach, SO., BGh.; 
àilteach, E. 


Upon a horse well-shod and high-headed, bearing thy 
bright taper blade in a scabbard close and firm behind 
thy curling locks yellow as harp-strings, thou wouldst 
brace the mood of men with the comeliness of thy 

Many a stranger, many a guest and man of song, would 
for a space be ready to part with wealth for thy guidance 
and acquaintance; such was thy repute in very truth. 

Thou wert the tranquillity of friends at time of home- 
coming, when men drank deep without discord or 
quarrel, and thou didst love to have by thee tellers of 
a rare and pleasing tale. 

Often did friends wend to thy glorious fortress that was 
blithe and welcoming, festive and stately, without 
turbulence or arrogance, where the needy was not 
denied his due. 

Thou of the line of Olgar great in sea-prowess, Olgar of 
taper-pointed sails, of blue-grey drinking-horns, of 
organ-strains, of heroes stern at need: 


Bha leth do shloinnidh 

Ri siol Cholla 1155 

Nan CÌOS troma 

Is nam pios soilleir, 

Bho choigeamh Chonnacht: 

Bu lionmhor do loingeas brèidgheal. 

Is iomadh gàir dhalta 1160 

Is mnài bhasbhuailt' 
Ri la tasgaidh: 
Chan fhàth aiteis 
Do d' chàirdean t' fhaicsin 

Fo chlàr glaiste: 1165 

Mo thruaighe, chreach an t-eug sinn! 

Inghean Sheumais nan criin, 
Bean-cheile ghlan ùr, 
Thug i ceud-ghràdh d'a run, 
Bu mhor a h-aobhar ri sunnd 1170 

An uair a shealladh i an gnùis a ceile. 

Is i f hras nach ciuin 

A thàinig as ùr, 

A shrac ar siuil 

Is a bhrist ar stiuir 117s 

Is ar cairt mhaith iuil 

Is ar taice cùil 

Is ar caidreabh ciuil 

Bhiodh againn 'nad thùr èibhinn. 

Is mòr an ionndrainn tha bhuainn 1180 

Air a diinadh 'san uaigh, 

Ar cuinneadh 's ar buaidh, 

Ar cùram 's ar n-uaill, 

Is ar sùgradh gun ghruaim: 

Is fada air chuimhe na fhuair mi fèin deth. 1185 

iisS So BGh.; Coinneachd,^.; Coinneach, 50. 


One half of thy kinship was v/ith the race of Coll of 
heavy tributes and bright silver goblets, from the 
province of Connacht; numerous was thy white- 
sailed fleet. 

Many a fosterling wails, and many a woman beats her 
hands, on thy burial day; it is no cause of gladness to 
thy friends to see thee sealed beneath a coffin-lid. My 
sorrow, death hath reft us. 

The daughter of Sir James the munificent, a consort 
fresh and fair, did give to her darling her first love; 
she had much cause to be glad when she looked into 
her husband's face. 

An ungentle storm is this that hath freshly arisen, that 
hath rent our sails and broken our rudder and our 
good compass, our stay and prop, the goodly fellow- 
ship that were ours in thy joyous tower. 

Much we long for what we lack, for what is closed within 
the grave, our treasure and triumph, our care and our 
boast, our glee without gloom. What I myself have 
received thereof I shall remember long. 


do Shir Tormod Mac Leoid. 

Mo chràdhghal bochd 

Mar a thà mi nochd 

Is mi gun tamh gun fhois gun sunnd. 

Gun surd ri stàth 

Gun dull ri bhith slàn, 1190 

Chaidh mo shiigradh gu bràth air chill. 

Chain mo shusbaint a càil, 
Fàth mo thìirsaidh gach là, 
Is mi sior-ursgeul air gnàths mo ruin. 

Mu dheagh mhac Ruairidh nan long, 119s 

Lamh liobhraigeadh bhonn, 

Is bha measail air fonn luchd-ciuil. 

Is e bhith smuainteachadh ort 

A chràidh mi am chorp 

Is a chnàmh na roisg bho m' shùil. 1200 

Mi ri smuaintean bochd truagh 

Is ri iomradh baoth buan 

Is mi 'gad ionndrainn-sa uam: 's tu b'fhiii, 

Ag ionndrainn Leòdach mo ghaoil 

Bhith 'san t-sròl-anart chaoil 1205 

Gun chomhdach r'a thaobh ach biiird. 

O'n la ghlasadh do bheul 
Gun deach aire air luchd-theud 
An uair sgapadh tu fhein na criiin. 

Thog na filidh ort sgeul 1210 

Fhad 's a dh'imich an ceum 
Nach fhaca iad na b'fheile gnùis. 


for Sir Norman MacLeod 

Sad and heart-sore my weeping, for I find myself to- 
night without rest, without peace, without cheer; 

With no will for aught that profiteth, without hope to be 
well; my joy is vanished for ever more. 

My substance hath waxed listless, cause of my grief each 
day, as ever I recount the ways of my dear one; 

My grief for Roderick's son of galleys, his a hand to 
lavish wealth, who esteemed the minstrel's lay. 

It is thinking of thee that hath tortured my body, and 
wasted the lashes from mine eyes; 

Thinking sadly and sorrowfully, and ever vainly recalling 
thee, and longing for thee as well thou didst deserve; 

Longing for my dear MacLeod, as he lies wrapped in 
his thin shroud of satin, with no cover at his side save 

Since the day thy mouth was sealed, minstrels have gone 
in want, whenas thou thyself wouldst have scattered ja^^' 
riches. ^ ^ _ 

The bards have spread a report of thee, far as their ^^.^-I'lr^*^ 
steps have led, that a countenance more liberal they "^PHlfit*^^ 
never saw. *"* 


Gun robh maise ann ad fhiamh, 
Sin is tlachd ort measg chiad, 
Rud nach cuala mi riamh air triuir. 

] Tha am Mac Leoid-s' air ar ceann 

Is e fo thùrsadh nach gann; 
Is beag an t-iongnadh, 's e chaill a stiuir. 

Chain e maothar a threud 
'San robh fradharc nan ceud 
Is tagha de dheagh chairt-iuii. 

Deagh shealgair am frith, 
Bha gun cheilg do thigh Righ, 
Agus seirbhiseach dileas crùin. 

Tha do chinneadh fo ghruaim 

Is gach aon fhine mun cuairt 

O'n la ghrinnicheadh t'uaigh 's a' chriaist. 

Mu'n t-sàr ghaisgeach dheas threun 

Ann am batail nan ceud, 

Ciia bu lapach 'san leum ud thii. 

Làmh churanta chruaidh 
Ann an iomairt 's gach buaidh, 
Chan urrainn domh t'uaisle, a ruin. 

Do thigh-talla fo ghruaim. 
Is e gun aighear gun uaill. 
Far am bu mhinig a fhuair sinn cuirm. 


There was beauty in thine aspect, and thou hadst a 
presence among hundreds, such as I never heard that 
three possessed among them. 

This MacLeod who is over us is grieved, and that deeply; 
no marvel, for he hath lost his helm; 

He hath lost the choice of his flock, who had the fore- 
sight of hundreds, and the choicest of rare pilots. 

Rare hunter in a forest, without guile to the royal house, 
and a loyal servant of the crown; 

Thy kindred are in gloom, and those of every name 
around, since thy tomb was made ready in the vault, 

For the prime warrior agile and strong in the battle of 
hundreds; in that onset thou wert not sluggish; 

Thine a hand heroic and hardy in contest and in every 
victory; thy nobility, dear one, is no longer my support. 

Thy mansion is in gloom, without mirth, without pomp, 
where often we have received a feast. 

This lament for Iain Garbh of Raasay is in Còisir a' Mhòid 
(i. 50) ascribed to Mary MacLeod, on what authority is not 
stated. Raasay tradition, as I am told by Mr. Alexander 
Nicolson and others, unhesitatingly ascribes it to Iain Garbh's 

Och nan och 's mi fo leireadh 
mar a dh'eirich do'n ghaisgeach; 

Chan 'eil sealgair na sithne 

an diugh am frith nam beann casa. 

Bha mi uair nach do shaoil mi, 

ged is faoin bhi 'ga agradh, 
Gun rachadh do bhàdhadh 

gu bràth air cuan farsaing; 

Fhad 's a sheasadh an stiuir dhith 

's tu air CÙ1 a buill bheairte, 
Dh'aindeoin ànradh nan^ dùilean à 

agus ùpraid na mara; 

Fhad 's a dh'fhanadh ri chèile 
a cuid dhealgan 's a h-acuinn, 

Is gum b'urrainn dhi gèilleadh 

do d' làimh threun air an aigeann. 

Ach b'i an doineann bha iargalt, 

le gaoth à'n iar-thuath 's cruaidh fhrasan: 

Thog i a' mhuir 'na mill dhùbhghorm 
's smuais i an iùbhrach 'na sadan. 

Hù o ro hò io hò hùg oireann o, 
hò a o hù, èile e hò, 
hù o ro hò io hò bhà, 
hò ro bha, hiu ra bhò, hiu o rò, 
hù o ro hò io hò hùg oireann o, 
faill ill 6 iaill io hò. 

sister, and this fact, along with the style of the song itself, 
makes it, I think, certain that Mary was not the author. 
Mr. Nicolson has collected in Raasay a less complete version. 
The free rendering is in the metre of the original. 

O alas for the hero 

whom the sea-wave is hiding; 

to the mountain-chase now 
'tis not thou shalt be riding. 

Ne'er I feared 'twould betide thee, 

(vain O vain is my weeping) 
that in ocean's wide depth 

thou shouldst ever be sleeping; 

While her rudder should stand 
and thy hand be to guide her, 

though the tempest should rave 
and the wave crash beside her; 

While her timbers and gear 
should cleave stoutly together, 

with thy hand on her helm 
any storm she might weather. 

But fierce was the gale 

and thy sail it hath tattered, 

it hath roused the black waves, 
and thy brave boat is shattered. 

HÙ o ro. 

xji^^'- '4 

^ .4u 

The following anonymous elegy on Sir Norman MacLeod 
of Bemera has been edited and translated by Professor Watson 
(see Northern Chronicle for 19th April, 1922) from a manu- 
script in the National Library of Scotland. It is included as 
a specimen of classic poetry for comparison with the style of 

Marbhrainn sior Tormoid Mic Leoid 

ar n-a sgriobhadh ann so, do eg an treas la do'n 

mhi Mhairt, ar ndeich(el?) a cluig, ano dom •Cv^, 


/ Rug an fheibhe a terme as teach, 
ag sin go leir ar loimchreach; 
amhghar ar eigsibh gach fhoid: 
an t-adhbhar treigsin Tormoid. 

Z A seal fein fuair an t-eineach, 
ag so an di'le dheireadhach; 
a dhrud fa chre do chadal 
rug a re go Roghadal. 

3 Sior Tormod do thaobh treighe, xr. 
* 's è la do chlu a cèid/^rèimhe; 
caoineadh budh ceart da airmhibh: ^ 

aoinfhear go seacht subhailcibh. 

^ Mac Ruaidhri do riar daimhe 
riamh aoinfhear dob iomlaine; 
mo thogha-sa do bhraith bladh: 

urusa air mhaith a mholadh. oA- 

. A thoirbheartas le teas ngraidh, • o/ "> 

eolus go n-eagna lomlain; '^^ ~ c^'^^ 

ceart nar cham do thuath tjre: t 

neart ann le fuath fairbhrighe. ';' 

? %. 'hi Ìi^ dc tUUi « cMeU^j,lu.Jji : 'iuui tti j*^ ^ to /A--e ^ (Uà 

Mary MacLeod's- composition on the same theme. For its 
vocabulary Dinneen should be consulted. In Rel. Celt. (II, 
264) is another classic elegy on Sir Norman, of which a better 
version is found in Nat. Lib., Box No. 3. 

Here is written the elegy of 

Sir Norman MacLeod 

who died on the third day of 
March, 1705, after ten o'clock. 

Distinction has ushered in its close; therein hes bare our 
utter reaving; trouble weighs on the learned of every 
sod: the cause, Norman's forsaking us. 

Munificence has had its day; here is come the final flood; 
it is his drawing to sleep beneath the clay that has 
brought his life's span to Rodel. 

Sir Norman took the part of the weak — the day of thy 
renown was their first rooting; for him hosts do well 
to weep: a man unique, with seven virtues. 

To satisfy a poet-company Ruairidh's son was ever the 
man most complete; my choice, whom renown has 
noted: easy to praise him, such was his worth. 

His bounty was bestowed with warmth of love; know- 
ledge was his, with full measure of wisdom; unbiased 
justice to the people of the land, strength too dwelt in 
him, with hate of excess. 



V Mar tàid dùile agus daoine 
's na Hearadh d'a ègcaoine, 
. t^ ò'n mhuir-si a bhfoltaibh na bhfiodh, 

's gan tuigsi ar foclaibh fileadh. 

7 Slàn le h-eòlus Innsi Gall 

ar tteasdòil d' fhèinnidh Fhionnghall; 
A« "^^^7^ ^ C ^^, l^ri trè èajudh anma • 

I^^^^^A.^ \ ^s'^an lèghudh sgèla sgolardha. ^^ 

O nach maireann mac Mhic^eoid, J L 

nà h-iarrthar 'r>a nduais deighsheoid 

's gan fiadhain ar cham tar chair, 
no ar riaghail rann tar rabhàin. j. acì-iì/U 

Ik^. $« C^-«.) ! 'Se le h-èg no gur athruigh ,.^ 9 'f 

as an bhaile, a Bearrnathraigh, 
a Dhè mhòir, ag riarudh rann 

dob è grianbhrugh oil Fhionnghall. 

' f Fàth bròin diombuaine an duine, 
fa lòr d' adhbhur eòlchuire; 
fir domhuin 's a ngnaoi d'a ngad, 
's nach foghain faoi acht f . . . . 

i/Fuair mac M^icÌLeoid, lòr a met, 
clù tar laochaibh a leithèid; 
6 fhuil a thoirm i ngach tir, 
do chur a ainm a n-imhchin. 

■ " Do lion a bhròn-sin gach brugh 
'j , a ccrich cinnidh a mhàthar; 

. n^j^fJlJX^ ^^^' ^ 6 fuil fòir Cuinn a cceasaibh: 

guil slòigh an fhuinn Uibhisdigh. 

/:. Dòibhsion is doirbh an deadhail, 
gan sùgradh 'n a sein-treabhaibh 
laoich as buirbe ag bualadh bhos: 
'^ duilghe is luathghal an Leòdhus. 


Sad the state of creatures and of men in Harris lament- 
ing him, for that this sea (is risen) among the foliage 
of the woods: men understand not poets' phrases. 

Farewell to the knowledge of Innse-Gall, now that the 
warrior of Fionnghall is gone; we grieve that his soul 
has fled, that learned tales are no more recited. 

Since MacLeod's son lives no more, let goodly treasures 
be no longer sought as rewards; seeing that no witness 
is left for right or wrong, for rule of rime as compared 
with doggerel. 

Until he changed his abode by death from his stead, 
from Bernera, thou mighty God, in rewarding poems 
it was the brilliant banqueting hall of Fionnghall. 

Cause of sorrow is the noble's transience, reason enough 
for lamentation: men, one and all, of their pleasure 
robbed, since for his bed there serves only a . . . . 

MacLeod's son won fame — enough its measure — over 
warriors his peers; whence the noise of him is in 
every land to spread his name afar. ^^ <;'. 

Grief for him has filled every dwelling in the bounds 
of his mother's tribe; because of it Conn's seed are 
in affliction: there is weeping of the host of the land 
of Uist. 

To them grievous is the parting; no mirth is in their 
ancient homes; fiercest warriors smite their palms; 
distress and wailing are in Lewis. 



Re fearuibh Sgi do sgaradh 
an treighe 's an tromaradh; 

mur do ghed an chumha a ccail, 
's ni lugha a bed a mBarraigh. 

(K du'^ 

jSic C^na. '««i£f l2f«-* 

Ata a cclaruibh na comhra 
ceann na foirneadh feasamhla; 

's an uaigh-si, 'ga corji.cceilt, 
uaisle fhola agus airmbheirt. 

Aiceacht muinte gach mhic oig 
'n a luighe fa lie Thormoid; 

inn an tomus Ian time; 
mar sanas an suaidh-fhile. 



■Wfc? : 

O fhuil Leoid lor do ceileadh , bseCM 

d'a saoitheacht, d' ar sàir-cheinèal; ' cjCìAaàù - 

's gach gnas budh dualghus do'n druing, 
tre bhas gach suachus seachuinn. 



Seacht gcead deg 's a cuig gan chol, 

eg Thormoid, doirbh an deadhol; ^ 
e comhaireamh is è sin ,. ;uL C*vU^^^ 

annaladh De go deimhin. v-'" ^ ' ' 

< ■:<; 

Ni fhuil trenfhear ag toidheacht 
do mhaicne no mor-oireacht, 

ò'n bhas tre luathchar nach lag: 
uathmhar an cas comhrug. 

A Rug. 

^^^'liZ^X^^.f j 



. /1 f /~ 






Thy severance from the men of Skye is their weakness 
and their heaviness; so sorely has mourning wounded 
their mood; and not less is the hurt of it in Barra. 

There lies within the boards of the coffer the head of 
learning's company; in this grave lie hid from sight 
nobility of blood and martial deed. 

Under Norman's slab lies every young man's guide to 
instruction; we are . . . full of fear (?); the sage and 
poet is as a whisper.^ 

Enough has been hid (in the grave) of the blood of Leod, 
of its wisdom and of our noble race, and (with it) 
every custom that was that people's due: through his 
death every joy has passed us by. 

Seventeen hundred and five without sin (was the age of 
Christ at) Norman's death; sore the parting; by com- 
putation that is the reckoning of God assuredly. 

No mighty man comes to tryst of youths or great assembly 
since his death through sudden powerful cast; dread 
the calamity that has borne him with it. 

'■ i.e. does not raise his voice for sorrow. 


[Note. — For the information in the notes the chief sources are the 
well-known and indispensable histories and clan histories, especially 
Browne's History of the Highlands and Clans, Mitchell's History of the 
Highlands and Gaelic Scotland, Mackenzie's History of the Mackenzies, 
of the MacLeods, and of the MacDonalds, and the great Clan Donald 
of the Rev. Dr. Archibald MacDonald and the Rev. Dr. Angus 
MacDonald. Outside these the source is generally specified ; and I 
trust that where the number of the page has not been given the 
passage will be easily found by a list of contents, index, &c.] 


This so-called " Conversation between Mary MacLeod and 
Nic Dhomhnaill " presents some puzzling problems. First, a 
section of it closely resembles part of the " Tàladh Dhomhnaill 
Ghuirm le a Mhuime " contributed to the Gael (V. 68) by 
Dr. Alexander Carmichael and printed in BGh. with some im- 
provements from Dr. Carmichael's later and much fuller ver- 
sion. The two poems should be compared, and contrasted, 
in their entirety, but especially with 11. 13 ff. of the text of. 
BGh. 6516 ff.: 

Nàile nàile hò nàile gu triall 

Moch a màireach gun d'fhaighnich a' bhean 

De'n mhnaoi eile: na, cò i an long ud 

Siar an eirthir 's a' chuan Chananach? 

Don-bìdh ort! c'uim an ceilinn? 

C6 ach long DhomhnaUl long mo leinibh 

Long mo rìgh-sa long nan Eilean. 

Is mòr learn an trom atà 'san eathar. 

Tha stiuir òir oirr' tri chroinn sheilich. 

Gu bheil tobar fiona shios 'na deireadh 

Is tobar fioruisg' 's a' cheann eile; 



and with 11. 75 ff. cf. BCh. 6542: 

01 fiona is beoir ad champa. 

What may be the relation between the two will be considered 

Next we have the difi&culty of the second line {Nic an 
Tòisich) and the heading {Nic Dhomhnaill a Tvondairnis); 
how can the same woman bear both designations? It seems 
probable, indeed almost certain, that the lady meant is Marjory 
[M air ear ad of 1. i), daughter of Macintosh of that ilk, who 
married Domhnall Gorm of Sleat in or immediately before 
1614; if then 11. 3 and 4 are to be taken literally, the first 
section of the poem was composed in or before 1615 and not 
by Mary MacLeod. This section seems to end at 1. 10. 

We then come to a section which shows the closest corre- 
spondence with the Tàladh, but which is in praise not of Donald 
Gorm but of a Ruairidh òg Mac Leoid, who is said, apparently, 
to have equalled Mackenzie and surpassed MacDonald. In 
view of that correspondence we can say quite definitely that 
Mary was not the author, in the proper sense, of this section. 
As we have no clue to the date, we cannot say which Roderick 
MacLeod is meant, or whether he was a contemporary of Mary 
MacLeod. If she had any hand in the composition as it stands, 
she was adapting to her own use the lines we find in the Tàladh. 
It is very likely, as the Rev. Malcolm Maclean points out to 
me, that the Conaltradh, the Tàladh and many other poems 
have embedded in them much older fragments, which are 
akin in spirit to the old tales; these fragments formed the 
stock in trade of the poets, which they did not hesitate to use, 
and among them are the lines common to the Conaltradh 
and the Tàladh. This section ends at 1. 60. 

The rest of the poem is in baser style; it is inferior in lan- 
guage and versification, its spirit is that of a tàmailt or an aoir, 
and its taste is doubtful — altogether a declension from the heroic 
fervour of the central part of the poem. Its style is by no 
means that of Mary MacLeod, and it was clearly composed 
at a time when MacDonald and MacLeod were at bitter enmity, 
which was the case during Sir Roderick Mor's time (d. 1626) 
but not during Mary's poetic career. 

I. Mairearad: Marjory, daughter of the chief of Macintosh, 
was the third wife of Domhnall Gorm M6r VII of Sleat; in 


1614, no doubt on his marriage or soon after, he made provision 
for her by granting her a charter of lands in Sleat. It is unusual 
but not impossible that the wife of MacDonald should be 
styled Nic Dhomhnaill; we should rather have expected Bean 
Mhic Dhomhnaill. Again, the usual Gaelic equivalent for Mar- 
jory is Marsaili; but Marjory, Margery, and Margaret are the 
same name. There seems little doubt of the identification. 
This Donald Gorm is the same whose name is associated with 
the Tàladh. 

23 ff. Shin i taobh, &c.: " She drew alongside Mackenzie's 
boat," i.e. she was the equal of the other in sailing, and Mac- 
Leod was the equal of Mackenzie, no small boast in the days 
when Mackenzie's power was paramount over all the north- 
west — " CO bheireadh geall ri Mac Coinnich?" Such seems to 
be the secondary meaning, though Mary may be speaking of 
friendship and alliance. 

Chuir i bòrd, &c.: We may take bòrd to mean a tack in 
sailing, though it appears not to be used in this sense in Scot- 
land now ; ' ' she outsailed the island boat by a tack, outstripped 
her by the distance covered in a tack." Or we may take bòrd 
in its ordinary meaning of a plank: " she knocked a plank out 
of the island boat," perhaps by some such feat as " bumping ". 
In any case the meaning is that she outsailed or surpassed the 
island boat. What then is long an Eilein? An t-Eilean is Skye, 
and in view of this and of long Dhomhnaill . . . long nan eilean 
in the Tàladh it seems certain that the island boat symbolizes 
MacDonald of Sleat. MacLeod then surpassed MacDonald, 
and was equalled only by Mackenzie — the same championship 
of MacLeod against MacDonald as we find in the last section 
of the poem. 

33. Ruairidh: who this Ruairidh chief of MacLeod was is 

48. an Dun: Dunvegan. 

58. Fionn: the leader of the Fiann, of whom Diarmaid 
Ua Duibhne was one, flourished in the third century a.d. 
His son was Ossian, and Ossian's son was Oscar. GoU mac 
Morna was the chief warrior of the Clann Moma, and a frequent 
opponent of Fionn. Cuchulainn (fl. c. a.d. i), the Fiann, Ossian 
and Oscar are mentioned in the Tàladh Dhomhnaill Ghuirm. 

62. Gaolas rònach: if this is a place-name it is a curious 
(E746) 10 

112 NOTES 

one, and I have not been able to find it; more likely " a seal- 
haunted strait ". 

80. Supply do before the verbal noun riarachadh: " a useful 
help towards completing one's sense of satisfaction at a meal." 

83. Trondairnis: i.e. from Dim-tuilm, the principal resi- 
dence of MacDonald at this time. 

100. Dotnhnall: almost certainly Donald Gorm Mor who 
died in 1616 or 1617. The Sir Donald who died in 1643 was 
summoned to appear before the Covenanting Parliament in 
Edinburgh in 1641, to answer for rendering assistance to 
Charles I; while Sir Donald the tenth chief continued his 
resistance to King William's government even after Killie- 
crankie, and only submitted after his castle of Sleat had been 
bombarded by two government ships of war. It does not 
appear, however, that either of these was actually imprisoned ; 
and the reference in 11. 103, 104, is no doubt to the imprison- 
ment of Donald Gorm Mor by the King and Privy Council 
of Scotland in 1589 and 1608. 

108. Gleann Shealtainn, anglicized Glen Haultin, in Trot- 
ternish, east of Snizort. 


A specimen of the Tàmailt. 


This is the earliest poem of certain date ascribed to Mary. 
Its subject is Roderick Mackenzie of Applecross, who died 
on 6th July, 1646. His father, Alexander Mackenzie of Coul 
and Applecross, was an illegitimate son of Colin Cam of Kin- 
tail, and brother of Kenneth first Lord Mackenzie of Kintail 
and Sir Roderick of Coigeach, the Tutor of Kintail. Roderick 
died before his father (11. 236 a and b), and never succeeded to 
the estate of Coul, but received Applecross as his patrimony 
during his father's lifetime. 

165. Glann na h-irghinn: Roderick's mother was Anna- 
bella, daughter of Murdoch Mackenzie I. of Fairburn, who 
was the illegitimate son of Roderick Mor Mackenzie I. of Achilty 
and a daughter of William Dubh MacLeod of Harris and Dun- 

I NOTES 113 

172. A' Chomraich, " the sanctuary " of St. Maelrubha 
(a.d. 642-722) who founded the monastery of Applecross in 
A.D. 673. The sanctuary had a radius of six miles, and appears 
to have been marked by stone crosses {CPNS.). The Gaelic 
for " in Applecross " is still " air a' Chomraich ". 
'*' 173- èàir is the accus. of respect, limiting the sphere in ■"- 
which adj. is to be understood; " great in respect of shout; " 
the other exx. of this ace. are in 11. 274, 318, 339, 441, 447, 
533. 535. 572, 62G, 636, 795, 910, 928, 940, 1212. 

176. Strictly, ^yea^great-g^andfathe^. ■^~ 

185. Glaic Fhionnlaigh is beside the shore between Milton 
and Camusterrach, on the other side of the road from Milton 
loch at a distance of 30 or 40 yards. An old wall running from 
the loch to the glaic is called gàradh Fhionnlaigh. There is 
no local tradition of a battle, but a piece of level ground 150 
or 200 yards away is called Blàr Dubh. 

203. I owe the reading in the text to Dr. D. J. Macleod: " I 
laid by my harp in a coffer " makes excellent sense, especially 
in view of the following line. Taking ciste nan teud of all the 
sources, ciste is cofhn, and the teudan are the ropes by which 
it is lowered. The other seems distinctly better. 

204. an gobha: " the smith," (who possibly nailed up the 
coffin), " denied me gleus," i.e. the mood appropriate to music; 
the sense is obscure. 

216. nighean larla Chlann Domhnaill: the reference, 
if we are to take it literally, is obscure; but the expression 
is probably a figurative one. Roderick's wife was Fionnghal, 
daughter of Murdoch Mackenzie of Redcastle. 

224. t'fhàgail: note subjective use of the pronoun, " thy — 
leaving (of me) "; contrast " Is neo-roghainn leam t'fhàgail," 
" I am reluctant to leave thee." 

228. ? as a sign of grief. 

236c. Roderick had no full brothers; he had, however, 
three half brothers, sons of his father's second marriage. 
These lines, though clearly corrupt, seem to be genuine. 


This famous song, which in E. is headed Le Nighein Alastair 
ruaidh do Shir Toramaid Mac Leoid, was composed, says 

114 NOTES 

John Mackenzie, " on the Laird being sick and dying. He 
playfully asked Mary what kind of a lament she would make 
for him. Flattered by such a question, she replied that it 
would certainly be a very mournful one. ' Come nearer me,' 
said the aged and infirm chief, ' and let me hear part of it.' 
Mary, it is said, readily complied, and sung, ex tempore, that 
celebrated poem . ' ' 

We have no reason to disbelieve the substantial truth of 
this tradition; yet it seems probable from the whole tone of 
the poem that it was composed on the occasion of a minor 
illness rather than when Sir Norman was actually on his 
deathbed. Again, it seems likely that there was some con- 
siderable interval between its composition and Sir Norman's 
death; for the only obvious reason for the survival of a tradi- 
tion that the elegy was composed before his death would be 
that the poem became fairly widely known while its subject 
was known to be alive and well. 

239. Mac Leoid: it seems almost certain that here for 
once Mary improperly applies this style to an other than the 
chief; yet the reference may be to the castle of Dunvegan 
and not to Sir Norman's own house in Bernera. 

263. bàrr is probably the duine-uasal's crest of one eagle's 
feather, but may refer to the feathered or bushy {dosrach) 
arrow -butts protruding from the mouth of the quiver. 

267. Cf. Eachann Bacach do Shir Lachlann Triath Dhubhaird: 
Cha bhiodh òirleach gun bhàthadh Eadar smeoirn agus gàinne. 

283. An Fhiann: see note on 1. 58. 

286. Note how the line merges into the following one. 


Mr. James Eraser, in his Polichronicon under the year 1671, 
writes as follows (I owe this reference to Mr. A. Nicolson): 

" This April the Earle of Seaforth duelling in the Lewes, 
a dreedful accident happened. His lady being brought to bed 
there, the Earle sent for John Garve M'kleud, Laird of Rarzay, 
to witness the christning; and, after the treat and solemnity 
of the feast, Rarsay takes leave to goe home, and, after a rant 
of drinking uppon the shoare, went aboord off his birling and 
sailed away with a strong north gale off wind; and whither 

NOTES 115 

by giveing too much saile and no ballast, or the unskillfulness 
off the seamen, or that they could not mannage the strong 
Dut(ch) canvas saile, the boat whelmd, and all the men 
dround in view of the cost. The Laird and 16 of his kinsmen, 
the prime, perished; non of them ever found; a grewhound 
or two cast ashoare dead; and pieces of the birling. One 
Alexander Mackleod in Lewes the night before had voice 
warning him thrice not to goe at (all) with Rarsey, for all 
would drown in there return; yet he went with him, being 
infatuat, and drownd (with) the rest. This account I had 
from Alexander his brother the summer after. Drunkness did 
the (mischeife)." 

We may take it, therefore, that Iain Garbh died at Easter 
(1. 354), 1671; and as he was served heir to his father in 1648, 
the tradition that he died at the age of twenty-one must be 
discarded. From 1. 352 it is clear that he was succeeded by 
his brother; in Origines Parochiales (II, i, 348) it is stated that 
" in 1688 Janet and Giles MacLeods, alias MacAlasdair mhic 
Ghille Chaluim (sisters of Iain Garbh) were served heirs of 
line, conquest, and provision to their father Alexander Mac- 
leod "; and we may suppose that it was on the death of this 
brother that the representation of the family devolved upon 
Alexander, son of John, brother of Iain Garbh's father. 

Iain's size and strength are still a tradition in Skye, and 
especially in Raasay; among several songs composed upon 
him are two elegies by his sister, one of which (Och nan och 's mi 
fo lèireadh) is in Còisir a' Mhòid ascribed to Mary MacLeod ;i 
the other, a magnificent lament, begins: 

Mi am shuidh air an fhaoidhlinn 

Is mi gun fhaoilte gun fhuran, 
Cha tog mi fonn aotrom 

O Dhi-haoine mo dhunaidh, 

with which cf. 1. 354. Pàdraig Mòr's pìobaireachd, Cumha 
Iain Ghairbh, is well known. The tradition that witchcraft 
brought about his drowning is related in Clàrsach na Coille, 
p. 290, and in J. Gregorson Campbell's Witchcraft and Second- 
sight in the Highlands, p. 25. 

297. " a hand unerring and unblemished, undamaged." 

^ I accept as conclusive the Raasay tradition which, I am told, ascribes the 
song to Iain Garbh's sister and not to Mary MacLeod; see p. 100. 

ii6 NOTES 

The sense is like that of " gun lean làimhe gun laige," (Eachann 
Bacach, do Shir Lachlann Triath Dhubhaird). 

315. oirre refers to the boat; " a hand that would not cease 
from causing her to speed." 

321. a ghabhail orra: " to reach them." 

329. do bhaile gun smùid, &c.: we might be tempted 
to take this as referring to Iain Garbh's house in Clachan, 
Raasay, though the description by no means suits the place; 
but the " homestead without smoke under the wave-lashed 
rock " is Iain's watery grave: cf. the lament mentioned above: 

Nochd gur h-iosal do chluasag 

Fo lie fhuaraidh na tuinne; 
Is ann an clachan na tràghad (or gun tràghadh) 

Tha mo ghràdh-sa 'na uirigh. 

The verses quoted I owe to Mr. Samuel Maclean of Raasay; 
they and others will be found in Songs of the Hebrides, 
II, 102. 

347. rùsgadh a' ghill: geall, a wager, stake, pledge, is 
common in poetry, and is used in several idiomatic phrases 
of which this is perhaps the commonest of the promise or 
pledge made by a warrior to do good execution in battle. 
Riisgadh here seems to have the meaning of " make known, 
announce "; cf. "an àiU leat mise a riisgadh ceoil duit?"; 
an alternative meaning would be " make a clean sweep of ", 
in reference to the pledge or promise of the opponent. Cf. 5. 

Gun leòn gun sgios, gu bràth cha phill 

Gus an tèid na gill a chur leo; 

Iain Lorn, Oran do Dhomhnall mac Dhomhnaill mac Thriath 

Dol a shiubhal nan stùcbheann, 

Anns an uidhe gun chùram 

Leis a' bhuidhinn roimh 'n rùisgte na gill. 

Further examples are collected and discussed in BGh., whence 
the above explanation is taken. 

352. In Maclean Sinclair's Gaelic Bards (I, 95) it is said 
that Iain had two brothers; Mackenzie (History of the 

NOTES 117 

MacLeods, 369) says that he was an only son. The tradition 

of Raasay supports the former; one brother perished with 
him, and one remained to succeed him. 


The heading given to this song in the Duanaire is a strong 
confirmation of the tradition, vouched for by the Rev. Kenneth 
MacLeod among others, that a part of Mary's exile was spent 
in Scarba. The heading in turn is perhaps confirmed to some 
extent by the third and fourth lines, which certainly suit 
Scarba better than Mull whose traditional claim is better known. 
Unfortunately we get no precise information from the poem 
either on this point or regarding Mary's early history. 

365. Uilbhinnis, UUinish, a district in Bracadale in Skye. 
The following lines are not incompatible with the tradition 
that Mary was bom in Harris. 

375. As Sir Roderick Mor died in 1626, these lines are not 
inconsistent with the tentative suggestion of 161 5 as the 
year of Mary's birth; a slightly earlier date would perhaps 
suit them better, however, while any later date is to be rejected. 
Tradition records that she was in service in Dunvegan Castle, 
and it is quite possible that she entered that service when she 
was eleven or less, before Sir Roderick's death. 


This is among the best known of all Mary's songs. It is 
addressed to Sir Norman of Bemera (1. 399), and was of 
course composed during her exile. Why it should be known 
as " MacLeod's Lilt " is not very clear, as Sir Norman was 
never MacLeod, a style reserved for the chief. 

394. Dhiùraidh a Sgarbaidh: the decision between the 
various readings is an important one. I have followed BGh. 
because (i) it seems clear that for a part of her exile Mary 
was in Scarba (see notes on Tuireadh and introduction); (2) 
a of £. is not nearly so likely to be the result of corruption as 
is or agus; (3) à is still heard from traditional singers, for 
example in Raasay, as Mr. John Maclean tells me. 

397. do'n dùthaich, i.e. Harris, as appears from 1. 399. 

400. A reference to Sir Norman's Lieut. -Colonelcy of the 

ii8 NOTES 

force of 700 men raised by Sir Roderick of Talisker in 1650 
in response to a proclamation issued by King Charles II on 
his arrival in Scotland. 

413. For the MacLeods' Norse descent see note to 1. 696. 

416. We need not trouble to take literally this poetic ex- 
aggeration; cf. 5. 113, Or an do Lochiall, le Gille-easbuig Domh- 

Chan 'eil fineadh feadh Alba am bheil buaidh 
Nach 'eil Camshronaich fuaight' riu gu beachd. 

417. A reference to the Irish connexions of the MacDonalds, 
to whom Sir Norman was related through his second wife, 
the daughter of Sir James MacDonald of Sleat, and through 
his mother, Isabel, daughter of Donald MacDonald of Glen 
Garry, after whom Sir Roderick Mòr's five sons were called 
" coignear mhac uasal Iseabail " . 

Eire, f. gen. Èireann, dat. Èirinn. 

433 ff. We do not know when Sir Norman's two younger 
brothers, William of Hamer and Donald of Greshornish, died; 
his elder brothers, Iain Mòr and Sir Roderick of Talisker, 
died in 1649 and 1675 respectively; the poem is therefore 
later than 1675. 

438. Note niov with pres. subj. expressing a negative wish; 
now obsolete. Nior is n\ (neg.) and the particle ro. 

459 ff. It is noticeable that the place given to the bow is 
now secondary to that of firearms. Mr. James Fraser, who 
was born in 1634, died in 1709, and commenced his Poli- 
chronicon in 1666, notes there that " that manly art " (of 
archery) " is wearing away by degrees, and the gun takeing 
place ". The last battle fought in Scotland in which bows 
are recorded to have been used was also the last clan battle, 
that of Maol Ruadh (Mulroy) in Lochaber, between the Mac- 
Donalds of Keppoch, under CoUa nam bo, and the Mackin- 
toshes of Moy (see T., p. 142, 143 ff.); it took place in 1688. 
See further BGh. 310. 

471. The translation adopts the conjecture crann. 

474. Commerce between Gal way and the western isles may 
have been direct, or through the Lowland ports. It is interest- 
ing to note that sioda na Gailbhinn is still known in Skye 
and Lewis as applied to a delicate kind of grass. 

NOTES 119 

497- è'^ seòladh: the obsolete construction of urrainn 
with gu illustrates the original meaning of urrainn, a guarantor, 
security, hence an authorized or competent person; urrainn 
gu, a fit person to. See vocab. 


From 11. 504 and 514 fi. it seems that Mary was not in 
either Skye or Harris when she composed this poem. From 
this and the general tone we may conclude that the poem 
belongs to the period of her exile; yet we cannot be precise 
as to its date, and it therefore affords no valuable evidence 
in that connexion. It is clear only that it was composed 
after 1666 (1. 582 n.); and no poem of her exile can be shown 
to be earlier than that date. A fragment was sung to Miss 
Tolmie in Bracadale and is printed in her Collection (98). 

504. Pàdraig Mòr Mac Cruimein, the famous piper of Sir 
Roderick Mòr, on whose death he composed the Cumha 
Ruairidh Mhòir: 

Tog orm mo phiob is thèid mi dhachaidh, 
Is duilich learn fhein, mo lèir mar thachair; 
Tog orm mo phiob 's mi air mo chràdh 
Mu Ruairidh Mor, mu Ruairidh Mòr. 

Tog orm mo phiob, tha mi sgith, 

Is mur f aigh mi i thèid mi dhachaidh ; 

Tog orm mo phiob, tha mi sgith 

Is mi air mo chràdh mu Ruairidh Mor. 

Tog orm mo phiob, tha mi sgith. 
Is mur f aigh mi ì thèid mi dhachaidh ; 
Clàrsach no piob cha tog mo chridh, 
Cha bheò fear mo ghràidh, Ruairidh M6r. 

Pàdraig is said to have accompanied Roderick of Talisker 
to London after the restoration of Charles II, and to have 
composed there the piobaireachd " Thug mi pòg do làimh an 
Righ " on being allowed to kiss the King's hand on that 
occasion (e.g. Mackenzie's Hist, of the MacLeods, p. 103). 
From the Polichronicon, however, a contemporary account, 
it appear* that the incident occurred in May, 1651, when 

120 NOTES 

the King's army, a few weeks before the battle of Inver- 
keithing, was gathermg at StirUng, and that the MacCrimmon 
concerned was not Patrick but John. The passage runs as 
follows {Wardlaw MS., p. 379): " It was pretty in a morning 
(the King) in parad viewing the regiments and bragads. He 
saw no less than 80 pipers in a crould bareheaded, and John 
M'gyurmen in the midle covered. He asked What society 
that was? It was told his Majesty: Sir, yow are our King, 
and yonder old man in the midle is the Prince of Pipers. 
He cald him by name, and, comeing to the King, kneeling, 
his Majesty reacht him his hand to kiss; and instantly played 
an extemporanian part Fuoris Pòòge i spoge i Rhi (Fuaras 
pòg o spòg an Righ), I got a kiss of the Kings hand; of which 
he and they all were vain." The MacCrimmon family are fully 
discussed in Mr. Fred. T. MacLeod's recent " The MacCrimmons 
of Skye ". 

513. nach tug e, &c.: a sentiment very common in 
Gaelic poetry. 

518. an tigh: The walls of Sir Norman's house, in the 
north-east of Bernera, are still standing; see introd., p. xiv. 

521. Olgharach: see note to 1. 791. 

548. " in winning victory in respect of scholarship ", " in 
pre-eminence of scholarship "; cf. 1. 195. 

551. For a similar expression cf. 1. 1085. 

558. Sir: " the dignity of knighthood is no new beginning 
for them "; Sir Norman's father, Roderick Mòr, was knighted 
in 1613. 

561. Teàrlach: Charles II. Some account of the part 
played in the second civil war by Sir Norman and Sir Roderick 
is given in the notes to Marbhrann do Shir Tormod. 

562. Slàn is rightly explained in a footnote in E. by " defi- 
ance "; "I defy Gael or Saxon (to show) that deceit was found 
on you " (BGh.). 

564. dh' is for do, used idiomatically in the sense of despite; 
cf. Seumas MacShithich (?), Oraii Gaoil: Sruth d'a chaisid 
cha chum air m'ais mi," " the stream despite its swiftness 
will not hold me back ". 

565. Lochlannaich: see note to I. 696. 

567. Mànus: the MacLeod genealogy according to Irish 

NOTES 121 

MSS., printed in Skene's Celt. Scot., has: " Manus 6g mac/ 
Magnus na luingi luaithe mic/Magnus Aircin mic/Iamhar 
uallach." "The period of Manus og would be the early part 
of the ninth century, when the Norse settlements in the Isles 
were in progress " {BGh.). 

568 ff. These stanzas added in praise of Sir Norman's lady '^K' 

are in the manner of the classic panegyric; see introduction 
p. xxvi. Sir Norman married in 1666 as his second wife 
Catherine eldest daughter of Sir James MacDonald IX of 
Sleat; her sister Florence was the wife of Iain Breac of Harris 
and Dun vegan. 


593. an Fhionnairigh: on the coast of Morvern, lying 
across the sound of Mull from Aros (thall nd); and we may 
suppose Mary composed the poem while in exile in Aros (I. 

599. Linne na Ciste is a deep pool about three miles up 
the Fiunary burn, and lying beneath a fall. Immediately 
below this pool is a ford, and close by are a number of cairns 
on which in former days, when conveying a funeral across 
the ford, they were accustomed to rest the coffin {ciste). ^ 
The path followed on these occasions is still partly traceable. 
(I owe this difficult identification to Miss C. M. MacVicar, 
Loch Aline.) 


The formal subject of the lament is Roderick, seventeenth 
chief of Harris and Dunvegan, who succeeded his father Iain 
Breac in 1693; in fact, however, it deals also with his younger 
brother Norman, who, as Roderick had no son, was his pro- 
spective heir and did actually succeed him. We must suppose 
that news reached Mary, whether during her exile or later, of 
the death of both Roderick and Norman, by what cause we have 
no information. Roderick's character, his abandonment of the 
traditional mode of life of a Gaelic noble, and his neglect of 
Dunvegan castle and its inmates made him an unpopular chief 
and were strongly censured by his father's bard, Roderick 
Morrison, an Clàrsair Dall, in the famous Òran Mor Mhic 
Leoid; whether or not it was Roderick that caused Mary's 
exile, she received his death without much regret. She praises 

122 NOTES 

his ancestors, and her praise of them and of Norman serves 
as a signal contrast to her silence regarding his personal 
qualities. Of her much warmer feeling towards Norman 
there is further proof in the following poem, which she com- 
posed on hearing that he had not after all shared his brother's 
fate. Roderick died in 1699, and the poem can be assigned with 
certainty to that year. 

615. gun abachadh meas: Roderick's only child was a 
daughter; Norman was not yet married; William, the third 
and only other brother, was probably already dead. 

620. Note the idiom: " becoming more frequent and more 
severe ", lit., " going into frequency, &c. "; cf. dol am feabhas, 

621. chunncas, 3 sg. past passive of faic; so chualas; 
except in a few cases, this termination is now replaced by -adh; 
chunnadh of 5. is a barbarous formation in this termination. 

624. aon uair, pron. èan uair, as often; so ean fhear, &c. 

625. a chlann: this and the following plurals are to be 
noted, an fhir allail: Iain Breac. 

635. ogha, addressed to Roderick only. 

an da sheanair: his father's father was Iain Mòr, his 
mother's Sir James MacDonald IX of Sleat. 

637 ff. The construction is loose, and of the nature of an 
aposiopesis; the noun or relative to which * refers is not ex- 
pressed, but easily understood. 

641. Iain Breac Mac Leoid. 

645. Tormod a mhac-san: Norman his i.e. Iain Breac's 
son, not as has been supposed Roderick's own son. 

659. as: a form of anns an (occurring before t and d in 
Scottish Gael., but Dinneen, s.v. i {in), quotes other cases for 

661. nach usa: an understatement; the Cròwaw shows how 
much stronger was her feeling for Norman than for Roderick. 

668. 'gam fògradh: the reference is to the accession of 
Stewart of Appin to the estates of MacLeod which might 
follow the extinction of the male line; cf. below. 

671. is ar ranntannan: the absolute construction. 

672. sud refers back to am in 'nam: lit. "if it should be 
gone into need of those "; rachte is the pass. subj. impersonal. 

NOTES 123 

674. Glann Domhnaill simpliciter are here the Mac- 
Donalds of Sleat. The term usually includes the clan in all 
its branches. 

677. Gleann Garadh, Glen Garry, in Inverness-shire; 
distinguish Gleann Garadh in Perthshire. 

683. 'nam fineachd, &c.: Roderick was nephew of Mar- 
garet daughter of Sir John Mackenzie of Tarbat (wife of his 
uncle Roderick), grandson of Sibella daughter of Kenneth 
first Lord Mackenzie of Kintail (wife of Iain Mòr his grand- 
father), and husband of Lady Isabel Mackenzie daughter of 
Kenneth third Earl of Seaforth and of Isabel daughter of Sir 
John Mackenzie of Tarbat and sister of the first Earl of Crom- 

685. From this and 1. 691 it seems that Roderick died away 
from home. The burial place of the MacLeods of Harris and 
Dunvegan was in Harris (cf. the heading of the lament for 
Sir Roderick Mòr mentioned on p. xxxii). It has always been 
regarded in the Highlands as a misfortune to die and be buried 
away from home; the case of Thomas Lord Eraser, who was 
buried in Kilmuir as a sign of " the great love he bore the 
family of MacLeod ", is mentioned in the note to 1. 825. Sir 
Roderick Mòr was buried in the Chanonry of Ross (Fortrose 
Cathedral), where his recumbent grave-stone is still legible. 

689. air an oighre: i.e. Norman, Roderick's prospective 

690. staoidhle 'sna Hearadh: as stated in the note to 1. 
696, Harris was, whether rightly or wrongly, regarded by 
tradition as the original possession of the Siol Tormoid or 
MacLeods of Harris and Dunvegan, though they had also 
held Glenelg since about 1343. Mackenzie, in discussing claims 
to the chiefship {History, p. 7) says that " in several royal 
charters, and other authentic documents, where the heads of 
the families are mentioned, the representatives of Tormod (are) 
usually styled MacLeods of Harris ", and this is the case in 
literature. Now that Harris no longer belongs to the MacLeods 
the chief is generally known as MacLeoid Dhùn Bheagain. 

696. Manainn: Harald, lawful king, under Hacon, king 
of Norway, of the Norwegian kingdom of Man and the Isles 
after 1265, was succeeded in that kingdom by his only son 
Leodus. Leodus married Adama d. of Ferquhar earl of Ross 

124 NOTES 

(cf. 1. 704) and had two sons, Torkell and Dormeth. To Torkell, 
the elder, he gave Lewis and Waternish; to Dormeth he gave 
Harris and his other lands in Skye, which was about the fourth 
part of what he gave to his eldest son. All their descendants 
" toock ther patronimick from Leod, sone to Harald, both 
thos who descendit of Torquill, ... as thos who descendit 
of Dormeith, or, as the Highlanders pronunced, Tormett, 
heritor of the Herries." Such is the account of the genealogy 
of Clan Leod given in the History of the Family of Mackenzie, 
written by the first Earl of Cromarty, Mary's contemporary; 
and there is little doubt that this represents the tradition on 
which Mary is touching. The MacLeods of Harris and Dunvegan 
are still commonly called Siol Tormoid, those of Lewis Siol 
Torcuill. A variation of this tradition is that Leod married 
the d. of Mac Raild, a Danish knight, and through her acquired 
her father's lands including Dunvegan. 

The whole of this account is rejected by Skene as the fabri- 
cation of the Earl, owing to the absence of literary evidence 
for such a genealogy before the writing of his work in 1669; 
the Chronicle of Man, a document of the greatest importance 
because contemporary with the events it narrates, makes 
no mention of Leod, although up to the year 1265 the Earl's 
history is in close agreement with it; but the Chronicle is at 
this stage meagre; between 1265 and 1274 it records only 
(1266) the transference of the kingdom of Man and the Isles 
to Alexander king of the Scots; this the Earl places in 1270 
or immediately after, saying that Alexander " gave to Harald 
. . . the Illes of Lewis, and that pairt of the Sky which he found 
then in the Norwegiane possessioun, viz. Vaternes, Meignanes, 
and the Herries, to be holdin in wassalladge of him and his 
successores. Kings of Scotland." The absence of positive 
statement in the Chronicle is not to be taken as proof of the 
contrary; early poems dealing with the genealogy of MacLeod, 
did we possess them, might well show what is most likely 
to be the case, that the Earl is recounting current tradition. 
In the present context we are concerned not with the truth 
of that tradition, but with the fact that Mary was well ac- 
quainted with and used it (see Celt. Scot, and Highlanders; 
Chron. of Man, i, no; Sir Wm. Eraser's Earls of Cromartie, 
ii, 509 fE.). 

Another account is given in Mr. James Eraser's Polichronicon, 
commenced in 1666 {Ward. MS., p. 40): " Duncan (son of 

King Malcolm) enjoyed the crown but a very short time, with ^u.(*a^ ' 
great trouble from England, quhen he is killed by M'kpeudar ""' — J 
(MacPeter), Thain of Mems, by the former Donalds procure- 
ment, who, to strengthen himselfe in his kingdom, conduced 
with Sueno 2, King of Norrowy, for assistance to recover the 
crown, he gave him the north and west Isles, which his race 
possesses to this day, viz. the Mackleuds. For Leodus, the sone 
of Oliverius Norwegie, possessed the Lewes, called so from 
Leodus, who had 4 sones, Torcil, Tormoid, Teah, and Teascil, 
who divided the country among them, Torcil possessing the 
Lewis, Tormoid the Haris, and the other two, parcells among 
them ; upon them 4 the poet in that language gives this distich 

Schlichd Oliver shin nach duair baistig, tha buon maslig; 

Ta Tormodich, agus Torkil, Teah, is Teaskill. R^^iv- "^ 

(Sliochd Olbhair sin nach d'fhuair baisteadh, tha buan masladh; f 
Ta Tormodaich, agus Torcuill, Teah agus Teascuil.) 

" The clan Torkil in Lewis were the stoutest and prettiest 
men, but a wicked bloody crew whom neither law nor reason 
could guid or moddell, destroying one another, till in end they 
were all expelled that country, and the M'Kenzies now possess 
it. The poet gave them this satyr: 

She mi varrell er Chland Leod eir cossvil ead re Poir i, ^aTnV 

Duse « /i2w<^5 \ 

The shin mis i is mo, Ichis i te is Oig Tuse. \^ t.ciU^ ^ \ 

Is e mo bharail air Chlann Leoid, gur cosmhail iad ri pòir^^__?^* 

...(?) ov. CAc^' 

An te is sine, ma's i as mo, itheas i an te as òige an tùs." 

The Norse descent of the Clan Leod is a favourite theme 
with Mary; cf. 1. 791 and note. 

698. Olghar: see note to 1. 791. Ochraidh: not identified. 

-^ 699. Boirbhe, Beirbhe (N. Bjorgvin), Bergen, one of the 
principal cities of Norway. This is perhaps the only name of 
a place in Scandinavia which survives in modern Sc. Gaelic, 
and it has the article in Gaelic, an unusual feature in Norse 

703. De shliochd àrmunn Chinn-tìre: a poetically general 

126 NOTES 

reference to Norman's descent on his mother's side from the 
MacDonalds of Sleat. To understand what was in Mary's 
mind we must recall the struggles of Somerled, grandfather 
of Donald the eponymus of the Clan, to assert Gaelic sway 
in Argyll and the Isles against the Norse. Somerled, whose 
capacity for leadership put him in a position of such power 
that the Chronicle of Man credits him with the intention of 
conquering the whole of Scotland, and who met his death by 
treachery at Renfrew in the year 1164 while leading an army 
against the King of Scotland, defeated Godred the feudal 
King of Man and the Isles in a sea-fight off the north shore 
of Islay in 11 56. The result of this was a brief peace between 
Gael and Norseman, on condition of Somerled receiving the 
Isles south of the point of Ardnamurchan, a territory which 
included Kintyre, and which was the ancient patrimony and 
earliest possession of the Clan ChoUa in Scotland. On Somer- 
led's death these central territories of Islay and Kintyre weiat 
to his son Reginald, on whose death, in 1207, they passed to 
Donald the eponymous progenitor of Clan Donald. I do not 
think we have here any special reference to the family of 
MacAllister of Loup in Kintyre, said to be descended from 
Alasdair, second son of Donald and therefore an early cadet 
branch of Clan Donald. Islay and Kintyre remained central 
possessions of the Lords of the Isles, though at intervals in 
their history they acquired very large additions of territory. 

The most important of these was the Earldom of Ross. 
A legitimate claim to it was advanced by Donald, fifth in 
descent from Donald son of Reginald, on behalf of his wife. 
Lady Mary Leslie, who became Countess of Ross in her own 
right. This claim Donald vindicated at the battle of Harlaw. 
in Aberdeenshire, in 141 1, against an army sent to meet him 
by the Duke of Albany and led by the Earl of Mar. The 
united forces of Scotland, however, were too strong to permit 
him to take possession of Ross; the Earldom was bestowed 
by Albany in his capacity of regent of Scotland on his son 
the Earl of Buchan; it reverted to the crown in 1424; and it 
was probably not until soon after the death of James I, in 1437, 
that Donald's son, Alexander, was granted possession of the 
title and estates of Ross, probably by the regents of the young 
king James II, in right of his mother, Countess of Ross. Alex- 
ander's son John, the last Lord of the Isles, in consequence 
of many acts of war by himself and his son Angus against 

NOTES 137 

the crown of Scotland, was divested of the Earldom of Ross, 
and, in 1493, of all his other titles and estates. 

There was then no earldom of Islay, but the Lords of the 
Isles being designated " de He ", " of Islay ", and being, as 
we have seen. Earls of Ross, Mary combines the two; so does 
Iain Lorn, " Do Dhomhnall Gorm Og Mac Dhomhnaill Shle'ite ": 

" Aig ogha larla He 
Agus Chinn-tire, 
Rois is Innse Gall." 

The MacDonalds of Sleat are descended from Hugh, son of 
Alexander the first to enter into possession of the Earldom of 

705 ff. Mhic Iain Stiùbhairt: the patronymic of the 
chief of Appin, at that time Robert Stewart of Appin, to 
whom was married Isabel, sister of Roderick and Norman, 
and to whom, through his wife, the estates of MacLeod might 
pass in the event of the death of Roderick and Norman, their 
only brother, William, having died unmarried. Alexander 
Mackenzie, in the belief that the poem was composed on the 
death of Roderick the fifteenth chief, gives that Roderick a 
son and daughter, against the evidence of Douglas's Baronage, 
and marries the daughter out of hand to Stewart of Appin. 
The case of that Roderick does not meet the requirements of 
the poem. 

an Apuinn, Appin, a district north of Loch Creran 
in Argyll: Apuinn Mhic Iain Stiùbhairt; distinguish from 
Apuinn a' Mhèinnearaich, Appin of Menzies, which is Dull 
in Perthshire. 

718. an fhir fheilidh: Iain Breac. The reference no doubt 
includes William as well as Roderick and Norman. 

719. Ruairidh Mor: Sir Roderick Mor, who died in 1626, 
the great-great-grandfather of Roderick and Norman. 


Mary's joy at finding the report of Norman's death to be 
false finds full expression in An Crònan; besides being per- 
sonally attached to him, she welcomed the prospect of a change 
of regime. Though Roderick is not mentioned, his def^eneracy 
from the hereditary qualities of his house is indicated plainly 

(E746) 11 

12« NOTES 

enough in constant reminders to Norman of what is due to 
tradition, and in expressions of joy that the old order of hunting, 
feasting and open-handedness to the household will be renewed. 
Norman was, as the language of the poem would of itself show, 
a young man at his accession, but Mary's hopes were not ful- 
filled for long; Norman married in 1703 Anne Fraser, daughter 
of Hugh Lord Lovat, and died before the birth of his son 
Norman in 1706. It is clear that the poem was composed 
very soon after the Cumha do Mhac Leoid. A fragment of 
it was sung to Miss Tolmie in Bracadale in 1862; see her 
Collection, No. 99. 

723. The physician, i.e. God, says Miss Tolmie; perhaps 
rather the bearer of the message. 

725. The reading of E. and M., theannas, is the relative 
fut., used commonly enough, though ungrammatically, in 
colloquial speech in place of the independent fut. 

736. àrmunn: Iain Breac. 

751. dun ud nan cliar: Dun vegan. 

779. socrach ri tuaith: a common sentiment; cf. Iain 
Lom to Mackinnon of Strath: " Cha b'e am fasan bh'aig each 
/So ghlac e mar ghnath/Bhith smachdail mu'n mhàl air tuaith." 

791. Olghar: cf. 11. 521, 698, 875, 1148. 

" In the classic bardic poetry the name is Olbhur, and occurs 
frequently, e.g. in the elegy on Sir Norman aicme Olbhuir 
(thrice). — RC, II, 264; a poem in Nat. Lib. MS., addressed 
to William MacLeod, son of Sir Norman, has — 

Mac 1 Olbhuir mur thuinn thoruidh {rann 12), 
Triath do rioghfhuil aicme Olbhuir {rann 23). 

Olghar, Olbhur is perhaps to be equated with Oilmor of the 
MacLeod genealogy as printed in Celt. Scot., Ill, 460, where 
he appears as great-grandfather of Leod, the eponymus of 
the clan. The name is obviously the Norse Olver: seven men 
of that name are mentioned in Landnamabok ." — BGh. 

807. Sliochd Ruairidh, the race of Sir Roderick Mor. 
The descendants of his eleven children are too many to enu- 
merate. The most prominent at this date were Sir Norman 
of Bernera, and the representatives of the houses of Talisker, 
Hamer, and Greshornish, founded respectively by Sir Roderick 
of Talisker, Tutor of MacLeod, William, and Donald, Sir 

NOTES 129 

Roderick Mor's second, third and fourth sons. Besides these, 
through Sir Roderick Mor's daughters Norman had marriage 
ties with, among others, the houses of Maclean of Duart, 
Maclean of Coll, MacDonald of Clan Ranald, MacDonald of 
Glen Garry, MacLeod of Raasay; and through the daughters 
of John, Sir Roderick's eldest son and successor, with these 
and other houses. 

812. Sir Dombnall a Slèite: Mary, daughter of Iain Mor 
of Dunvegan, married Sir James MacDonald IX of Sleat; 
Florence, Sir James's daughter, was wife of Iain Breac and 
mother of the present Norman. This Sir Donald is Sir James's 
grandson, XI of Sleat, who succeeded in 1695 and died in 

819. Mac mhic Ailein: this must refer to Alan, chief of 
Clan Ranald since 1686, who was mortally wounded at Sheriff- 
muir. The version of E. and 50. seems impossible, for it is 
apparently certain that Alan had no son: so Mary's younger 
contemporary, Silis na Ceapaich: 

Beir soraidh gu h-Ailean o'n chuan 

Bha greis anns an Fhraing uainn air chuairt; 

Is e ro mheud do ghaisge 

Chum gun oighre air do phearsa. 

The lines in E. and 50. may arise from contamination with 
some other poem. 

The version of M. has, as noted, " Mac Mhic Ailein is da 
Mhac Dhonuill ", which, written thus, is an extraordinary 
phrase, as Mac Dhomhnaill is the style of the chief of that 
name only, and is therefore not applicable to more than one 
man at a time. Capital letters, however, are used indiscrimi- 
nately in M., and we should perhaps read " da mhac Dhomh- 
naill ", " the two sons of Donald ". There remains to identify 
these; we may suppose them to be James of Orinsay, who 
was later for a short time chief of the house, and William of 
Vallay, sons of Sir Donald who died in 1695, and brothers of 
the Sir Donald mentioned in the previous stanza. The latter 
had only one son. With this identification we may compare 
again Silis na Ceapaich: 

Beir soraidh gu Domhnall o'n Dun, 
Gu h-Uilleam 's gu Seumas 'nan triuir. 


825. Mac Shimldh: Fraser of Lovat. It is probable, though 
we cannot be certain, that the Crònan was composed after 
May, 1699. In that month died Thomas Lord Fraser, and was 
succeeded by his son Simon, who erected in the churchyard 
of Kilmuir a monument to his father bearing an inscription 
which is quoted in Mackenzie's History of the MacLeods. 
Lord Thomas married Sibella, daughter of Iain Mòr, and, says 
the inscription, " for the great love he bore the family of 
MacLeod, he desired to be buried near his wife's relations, in 
the place where two of her uncles lay. And his son. Lord 
Simon, to show to posterity his great affection for his mother's 
kindred, the brave MacLeods, chooses rather to leave his 
father's bones with them than carry them to his own burial 
place near Lovat." Lord Simon was beheaded in 1746 for his 
share in the '45. "^'^ 

an Aird, Aird Mhic Shimidh, the Aird, a district near 
Beauly in Inverness-shire. 

826. Mackenzie of Kintail: see note on 1. 683. 

Ceann tSàil Mhic Coinnich, Mackenzie's Kintail, in Ross- 
shire; distinguish Cinn tSàil Mhic Aoidh, Mackay's Kintail, 
which is Tongue in Sutherland. 

831 ff. Sir John, chief of Maclean, a strong supporter of 
the Jacobite cause, was in exile at the court of St. Germains 
from 1692 until the accession of Queen Anne in 1702; cf. 
Mairearad nighean Lachlainn, a younger contemporary of Mary 

Is goirt leam gaoir nam ban Muileach, 
lad ri caoineadh 's ri tuireadh, 
Gun Sir Iain an Lunnainn 
No 'san Fhraing air cheann turuis, &c. 

834. do cheangal ris: see note to 1. 807. Sir John's mother 
was Julian, daughter of Iain Mor and aunt of Norman. 

840. Breacachadh: the seat of the Macleans of Coll, often 
mentioned by John Maclean, the Maclean Bard; a description 
of the old castle, written towards the end of the sixteenth 
century, is printed in Skene's Celt. Scot. In regard to the reading 
adopted, I am indebted to Mr. Hector M. MacDougall, Glasgow, 
a native of Coll, for the information (i) that the place-name 
is masculine; (2) that to the north-west of the old castle is 

NOTES 131 

some elevated ground where the rock is all of the red quartz 
variety, a rare thing in Coll, where grey gneiss with dykes of 
basalt predominates. This part is thus so red in appearance 
that the region is called " na cveagan dearga ". The dhearg of 
M.. which preserves the rime, has therefore been adopted, 
with change of gender. 

Donald, the tenth Maclean of Coll, who died in 1729, married 
first Isabella, daughter of Sir Roderick of Talisker, and secondly 
Marian, daughter of Sir Norman of Bernera. 


" On her passage from Mull to Skye," says John Mackenzie 
(i.e. at the end of her period of exile), Mary " composed a song, 
of which only a fragment can now be procured ". Once again, 
we are disappointed to find that we can extract no certain 
information from this fragment. The question must arise 
whether her destination was Dunvegan, the seat of the chief, 
or Bernera, the residence of Sir Norman. The words of 1. 866 
constitute the only tangible evidence for the latter, and we 
are probably safe in accepting Mackenzie's statement that her 
passage was to Skye. Dunvegan would be her natural desti- 
nation, and especially the abode of the chief is indicated by 
diithaich Mhic Leoid (1. 861) and 11. 872 and 903, for Mary is . - ,|^ 
consistent in applying the proper style MacLeod to the chief '-^.'"^ ' 
alone. The title of the song Luinneag Mhic Leoid is no dis- 
proof of this, for it was probably not given by Mary. The 
expression in 1. 866, therefore, referring to her passage west- 
ward, probably does not mean that she was bound for Harris. 

If this is so, we can give only a poetic interpretation to the 
phrase. So far as we know, she set out for Dunvegan from 
either Sgarbaidh or as Mackenzie says from Mull. If from the 
former, the expression can be taken literally only if we suppose 
it to apply to the first part of the voyage to Dunvegan by 
way of the Sound of lona. If we are content to concede to her 
a poetic licence, the phrase is as well used of a voyage from 
Aros as of one from Sgarbaidh north through the Sound of 
Mull; in either case it can only loosely describe the first part 
of the voyage, which is of course on the whole northwards and 
not westwards. 

872. MacLeoid: probably Norman; see over. 

132 NOTES 

873. an t-òg: this well suits the supposition that the Mac- 
Leod who recalled Mary was Norman the eighteenth chief, 
who as we know was a young man at his accession. 

875. see 791 n. 

884. SÌ0I Tormoid: the MacLeods of Harris and Dun- 
vegan; see note on 1. 696. 

905. Aros: àrois of SO. is certainly wrong, for the dative 
of aros, dwelling, mansion, is aros; if we suppose the word to 
be simply a common noun, the phrase aros an fhton is certainly 
not such as we should associate with Sgarbaidh, which, so far 
as is known, was never the abode of any person of importance. 
As the text stands, there is a pun on Aros, the place-name, 
aros, mansion, and ialla, hall. 


Headed in the MS. " Le Mairi nighean Alasdair 
Ruaidh mhic Leòid, an te sheinn An Crbnan " 

The poem is addressed to Sir Donald MacDonald of Sleat, 
who succeeded his father, Sir Donald, in 1695. He was known 
as Domhnall Gorm Og, or more particularly as Domhnall a' 
Chogaidh from the part he played in the war on behalf of 
James VH. At the Èattle of Killiecrankie he commanded the 
forces of the clan in place of his father, who fell ill after setting 
out; in reference to this Iain Lom, in a poem on Cath Raon 
Ruairidh, says: 

Mo ghaol an Domhnall Gorm Og 

O'n Tùr Shlèiteach 's o'n Ord; 

Fhuair thu deuchainn 's bu mhor an sgeula e. 

Mo ghaol an Tàinistear ìir 

Is a gheur Spàinneach 'na smùid: 

Cha b'e an t-ùmaidh air chiil na sgeithe e. 

Nor did the resistance of Sir Donald and his son to the govern- 
ment of King William end at Killiecrankie. They united 
with the other Jacobite chiefs in a refusal to submit on any 
terms^, and Sir Donald's house in Sleat, like those of other 

' Cf. a letter printed in Browne's History of the Highlands, ii, 183. 

NOTES 133 

of the island chiefs, suffered bombardment by two government 
frigates. The Earl of Argyll received a commission " to 
reduce him if he does not speedily surrender ", referring to 
which a letter in the Sleat charter chest from the chief's cousin, 
Hugh MacDonald, captain in General Mackay's regiment, 
quoted in Clan Donald, urges the chief to signify his submission 
in " a very obliging letter " to General Mackay. " Lord Morton 
(see note on 1. 977) appears in your interest, and advises you 
to write to Argyll an obliging letter, for he assures me that 
Argyll professes much kindness for you. This will not only 
keep Argyll from invading your country, but likewise make 
him befriend you at Court. I beseech you not to bring ruin 
upon yourself by papists and desperat people that resort to 
your island. Lord Morton would go on foot to London on 
condition that your peace was made." The terms of Sir Donald's 
ultimate surrender we do not know. 

The younger Sir Donald, subject of the present poem, 
appears to have taken an active part in the Jacobite rising 
of 1 7 15, and his estates were forfeited. He died in 171 8. We 
do not know at what stage in his career the poem was com- 
posed, but as he is already Sir Donald it must have been after 
1695. The poem affords Mary a good opportunity for the con- 
ventional but spirited enumeration of MacDonald's allies; 
some of them would have done less for Sir Donald than Mary 
would have us believe. 

In Alex. MacDonald's Story and Song from Loch Ness-side 
(p. 288) we are told that the following stanzas were well 
known in that district, and that the tradition concerning them 
was that they were a part of a composition by Màiri nighean 
Alasdair Ruaidh, when she discovered, pretty well advanced 
in years, that she was the daughter not of one Alexander 
MacLeod but of a distinguished MacDonald of the time: 

Thoir tasgaidh bhuam an diomhaireachd 
O chionn an fhad so bhliadhnaichean — 
Chan airgiod glas 's chan iarann e 
Ach Ridire glic riasanach 
Fhuair meas is misneachd iarlaichean; 
Is o'n fhuair mi nis gu m'iarraidh e 
Gun riaraich mi Sir Domhnall. 

Mo chuid mhor gun airceas tu. 

Mo chleasan snuadhmhor dealbhach thu. 

134 NOTES 

Mo ghibht ro phriseil ainmeil thu ; 

O'n chuimhnich mi air seanchas ort 

B'e an diochuimhn' mur a h-ainmichte thu, 

Is nan leiginn bhuam air dearmad thu 

Gu dearbhtha cha b'e choir e. 

Is gur craobh de'n abhall phriseil thu, 
De'n mheas is blasda brioghalachd, 
Is is dosraiche an am cinntinne 
'S a' choill 's nach biodh na dionagan,i 
De'n fhior fhuil uasail fhionanaich; 
Is gum bi mi dhoibh cho dichiollach 
Is gun inns' mi nis n'as eòl domh. 

Thig sUochd mhor Mhic Cathain leat 

Is an dream rioghail Leathanach, 

Bha uasal uaibhreach aighearach. 

Is bu chruadalach ri labhairt riu 

Fir Chinn-tire is Lathama; 

Is gur mairg luchd-beurla bhraitheadh tu 

Is na maithean sin an tòir ort. 

This extraordinarj^ tradition of Mary's parentage seems to be 
quite unknown in Skye or Harris, and was in all probability 
the result of a misinterpretation of the somewhat curious 
wording of the poem itself. 

935. Dùn-tuilm, in Trotternish, was at this time the 
principal residence of MacDonald. It was inhabited as late 
as 1 71 5 (Pennant's Tour, ii, 303). 

949. Mac Coinnich: Mackenzie of Kintail, no doubt 
Coinneach òg, an active Jacobite, who succeeded his father 
in 1678 and died in Paris in 1701. With Mackenzie of Kintail, 
as with most of the other families mentioned, the house of 
Sleat was connected by marriage; Sir Donald himself was the 
grandson of Margaret, daughter of Sir Roderick Mackenzie of 
Coigeach, the Taoitear Tàileach. 

Morair Tairbeirt: Sir George Mackenzie, Viscount Tarbat 
and first Earl of Cromarty, one of the most powerful men of 
his time in Scotland, and the great advocate of the Union. 

' ? for dioganan, a dialectic form of gioganan, thistles. 

NOTES 135 

He was the author of, inter alia, the History of the Family of 

950. Fir a' Bhealaich, &c.: the followers of Campbell of 

am Bealach: Taymouth; the use of the article shows un- 
familiarity with local usage, which is Bealach simply, or 
Bealach nan laogh. 

951. Gleann Garadh: MacDonald of Glen Garry. 

fir nan Garbhchrioch are probably Clan Ranald, whose 
ancient patrimony is the country between Loch Shiel and 
Loch Houm, to which the term na Garbhchriochan, the Rough 
Bounds, is generally applied. 

952. an Colla: Coll MacDonald of Keppoch, CoUa nam bo, 
who was bom in 1664, succeeded in 1682, and died about 1723. 
His wife was Barbara, sister of the subject of the poem, and 
his sister was the great poetess Silis na Ceapaich, Mary 
MacLeod's contemporary. 

955. The MacDonalds in general, " the seed of Art and Conn 
and Cormac ". Conn Ceudchathach, Conn of the Hundred 
Battles, was High King of Ireland, according to the Annals, 
from 123 to 157 A.D. He was father of Art, who was father of 
Cormac. Cormac's great-grandsons were the three CoUas, 
who were banished from Ireland to Scotland and there acquired 
territory. " Teid aris Colla Uais go n-a bhraithribh i nAlbain 
agus gabhaid fearann mor innte; gonadh on gCoUa Uais sin 
tangadar clann nDomhnaill na hAlban agus na hEireann " 
(see Keating, ii, 382). See note on I. 1155. 

956. Collanan is a name formed on Colla, " the descendants 
of Colla ". 

960. An Caiptein Mùideartach: Alan of Clan Ranald 
succeeded his father in 1686 at the age of thirteen, and at 
the age of sixteen accompanied his cousin and guardian, 
MacDonald of Benbecula, to the Battle of Killiecrankie at the 
head of five hundred men. The poem being probably after 
1695, Alan had by now become reconciled to the government 
of King William, two of the sureties for his good behaviour 
being Argyll and Viscount Tarbat. 

966. SÌ0I Torcuill: the MacLeods of Lewis, who had lost 
their land and been nearly extirpated at the hands of the 
Mackenzies; hence " na tha air ghleidheadh dhiubh ". 

136 NOTES 

967. Mackinnon of Strath in Skye. 

977. na Dubhghlasaich, &c.: Sir Donald's mother was 
Lady Mary Douglas, daughter of Robert third Earl of Morton. 

985. Antrum: the great house of MacDonald of Antrim, 
sprung from Somhairle Buidhe son of Alasdair of Dim Naomhaig 
and the Glens of Antrim; the Earl is no doubt Randal, who 
succeeded in 1696 and died in 1721. 

986. MacFeilim, i.e. Conn Ceudchathach (see 1. 955 note), 
son of Feidhlimidh (Feidhlim) Reachtmhar, " F. the Law- 
maker," king of Ireland. By "these descendants of Felim's 
son " Mary means a general reference to the MacDonalds in 
Ulster. (Cf. "Mac Feighlimigh mhoir mheir," Rel. Celt. 

n, 254.) 

990. Iain Mor 's Iain Cathanach, Sir John Mor of Dim 
Naomhaig and his son; along with three sons of the latter, 
they were hanged on the Borough Muir of Edinburgh in 1499 
for storming the castle of Dunaverty, in which King James IV 
had placed a garrison; see RC. ii, 164. 

992. fir Chinn-tire: a part of Kintyre, with the castles 
of Dunaverty and Saddell, as well as Dim Naomhaig in Islay, 
were the patrimony of Iain Mor, second son of John Lord of 
the Isles and of Princess Margaret, daughter of Robert II. 
With Kintyre also we associate the MacAllisters of Loup, who 
derive their name from Alasdair, son of Donald, the progenitor 
of Clan Donald. 

fir Lathama: the MacDougalls of Lome, descended from 

995 ff. There are many parallels to this claim on behalf of 
the premier clan of Scotland; cf. MacCodrum's " Moladh 
Chloinn Domhnaill" (MacDonald's Uist Bards; BGh.)\ 

Alba, ge bu mhor r'a innse e, 

Roinn iad i o thuinn gu mòintich: 
Is iomadh urra mhor bha innte 

Fhuair an coir o làimh Chloinn Domhnaill. 
Fhuair iad a rithis an Riita, 

Cunntaidh Antrum ge bu mhor i ; 
Sgrios iad as an naimhdean uile. 

Is thuit MacUibhilin 'san tòrachd. 
Bhuidhinn iad baile is leth Alba: 

Is e an claidheamh a shealbhaich coir dhoibh. 

NOTES 137 

The tigh referred to (1. 999) seems to be Tigh nan tend, three 
miles north-west of Pitlochry; cf.: 

B'ann diubh Art agus Cormac, 

SÌ0I Chuinn a bha ainmeil, 

Sliochd nan Collaidhean garga 

Le'n do chuireadh Cath-gaUbheach (-Gairbheach) 

Is Domhnall Ballach nan Garbhchrioch, 

Rinn Tigh nan tend aig leth Alba 'na chrich. 
(MacDonald's Story and Song from Loch N ess-side, p. 2). 

The expression is an ancient one; cf. Acallamh na Senorach 
(Stokes) (MSS. of fifteenth cent.), 1- 1837: " gu ngebadh tech 
ar leth Eirenn ", " that he would get half of Ireland and a 
house over"; also Glenmasan MS. (? c. 1500) (Mackinnon), 
Celtic Review, I, 14: " gur cosain nert a laime fen treab ar 
leth Alpan do ", "so that the might of his own hand won 
for him half Scotland and a stead over ". 


This song is still known in part in Harris. It is addressed 
to John, eldest son of Sir Norman of Bemera, sometimes 
called Iain Taoitear, as guardian of Norman, the nineteenth 
chief of MacLeod, who was born after his father's death. 
John was an advocate at the Scottish bar. 

The occasion of the poem is the presentation to the poetess 
of a snuff-mull (brath), or, as some in Harris say, a quern, 
and the first two stanzas deal playfully with this subject. 

1004. gun iarann air: "unshod"; the iron parts of a 
mill are a square block of iron {dealgan) let into the iron 
socket [dual) in the centre of the upper millstone; and the 
cylindrical iron bolt (torghann) inserted in the iron lunn, on 
which the propellor rests and rotates. A Lewis ballad runs: 
Tha an dealgan 's an torghann 
Air meirgeadh 'san dual, 
Is tha a h-uUe rud cearbach cearr oirr'. 

(All from Mr. H. M. Maciver). 

1029. By his second marriage (to Catherine, daughter of 
Sir James MacDonald of Sleat) Sir Norman had two other 
sons, William and Alexander, and four daughters. 

de is to be understood before chloinn. 

138 NOTES 

1041. Ruairidh: perhaps John's second son, Roderick. 


This poem is entitled in E. Oran le Inghin Alastair ruaigh 
do Mac Lead, and in SO. simply Cumha Mhic Leoid. 

Sir Norman MacLeod of Bernera, to whom it is addressed, 
was the third son of Sir Roderick Mor of Harris and Dunvegan, 
and born in Bernera. His contract of fosterage, between Sir 
Roderick and " Eoin mac mic Cainnigh ", is among the 
National MSS. of Scotland, dated 8th October, 161 4; at that 
date he was probably about five years old. Of his early life 
little is known. When in 1650 Charles II crossed to Scotland, 
Roderick of Talisker, Norman's brother, raised a regiment 
of about 700, most of them MacLeods, to support the King; 
and Norman received the Lieut. -Colonelcy of this force. Both 
brothers fought at Worcester (1651), where the MacLeod 
forces were so reduced that, it is said, by common consent 
the clan was absolved from military service until it should 
recover. Norman was taken prisoner, confined for eighteen 
months, and tried for his life; owing to the similarity of his 
name to the Welsh Llwyd, Lloyd, he was stated in the indict- 
ment to be a Welshman, and through this flaw the trial was 
held up and Norman sent again to prison. Thence he escaped, 
and afterwards returned to Skye. After the defeat of Worcester 
Charles retired to the Continent; but his supporters in the 
Highlands were not idle, and in 1653 Norman was dispatched 
to him at Chantilly with a letter signed by the chiefs of the 
loyal clans informing liim of affairs in the Highlands. It is 
a sign of the eminent place occupied by the MacLeods among 
the Jacobite clans that the message which Charles sent in 
reply was addressed to Sir Roderick of Talisker. After the 
defeat of General Middleton at Loch Garry in 1654, the royalist 
leaders and chiefs decided that no more could at present be 
accomplished for the cause; Norman opened his house in 
Bernera to the defeated generals, and from there they escaped 
to the Continent. In 1659 he undertook a mission on behalf 
of Charles to the court of Denmark, which procured a promise 
of no less than 10,000 troops; these however were never called 
upon; General Monk abandoned his support of Richard Crom- 
well, and the Restoration was accomplished. Roderick and 
Norman immediately gave their allegiance to the King in 

NOTES 139 

London, and were knighted, as they well deserved to be. 
Mary's tribute to his loyalty, then (11. 1223-4), is no more than 
the truth. 

Sir Norman died on the third day of March, 1705, as appears 
from the dating verse in an elegy upon him from the Book of 
Clan Ranald, printed in RC. II, 264 ff.: 

Seacht cced deg sa do re riom 
strl bliadhna aois a nairdriogh 
orslath budh cneasda do chi 
go teasda romhac ruaidhri, 

translated there: 

Seventeen hundred and two to be reckoned 
and three years the age of the supreme king, 
a gold wand the purest to be seen, 
to the death of the excellent son of Rory. 

So also an anonymous elegy: 

Seacht gcead deg 's a cuig gan chol, 

eg Thormòid, doirbh an deadhol; 

re comhaireamh is è sin 

annàladh Dè go deimhin; (see p. 106.) 

Mary mentions the day but not the year. The poem can 
thus be ascribed with certainty to the year 1705. 

1075. iuchair mo chùil: The exact meaning seems to me 
uncertain. Iuchair possibly means not key but keystone, 
as in Irish; " the keystone of my support (cùl)." Cùil may be 
gen. not of cùl but of cùil, nook, secret place, pantry, in the 
sense of store-house, treasure-house, by confusion with cuile 
of that meaning. Perhaps we should read chiuil, " the key 
of my music "; cf. a eochracha eigse, his keys of poesy (Dinn.); 
iuchair ghliocais; iuchair nam bard, righ nam filidh {BGh. 

1095. Here and at 1. 1130 ff. the translation is derived from 

1 106. Sir Roderick Mor of Harris and Dunvegan. 

1 1 15. Fuasgladh facail: " solving the knot of a case for 
decision "; cf. the Ciimha do Mhac Leoid mentioned on p. xxxii: 

140 NOTES 

" Mu mhàthair fhuasglaidh nan ceistean "; and Pol Crubach's 

lorram na Truaighe: 

" Ceann reite gach facail 

Gus an uair an deach stad air do chainnt." 
1 130. These lines are difficult, especially in view of the 
tense of bheir. " Many a stranger, many a guest and man of 
song, will for a space be ready to part with wealth (lit. crowns), 
for his guidance and his acquaintance." — BGh. 

1 148. Olghar: see note to 1. 791. 

1 155. SÌ0I Cholla: the Clan Donald. " Is follus fos gurab 
re linn Mhuireadhaigh Tirigh do chuadar na tri Cholla go n-a 
mbraithribh 6 Chonnachtaibh do dheanamh gabhaltais ar 
Ulltaibh, gur bheanadar roinn mhor do Chuigeadh Uladh 
dhiobh ar eigin, mar ata Modhairn Ui mac Uais is Ui 
Chriomhthainn go bhfuilid drong mhor dhiobh da haitiugh- 
adh aniu, mar ata Raghnall mac Samhairle larla Antruim 
no nAondroma 6 Cholla Uais; &c:" "It is also well known 
that it was in the time of Muireadhach Tireach {d. a.d. 335) 
that the three CoUas with their kinsmen left Connaught to 
win conquests from the Ultonians, and wrested by force 
from them a large portion of the province of Ulster, namely 
Modhairn, Ui Mac Uais and Ui Chriomhthainn; and many 
of their descendants hold possession of these to-day, as Raghnall 
son of Samhairle, Earl of Antrim, or Aondrom, descended from 
CollaUais; &c." (Keating, ed. Dinneen, Vol. II, p. 100). CoUa 
Uais, the most famous of the three, was the alleged progenitor 
of the Clan Donald (see note on 1. 955); and the reference 
here is to Sir Norman's mother, Isabel daughter of Donald 
MacDonald of Glen Garry. Mary MacLeod's knowledge of 
tradition is notable. Further information about the three 
CoUas is given in the Book of Clan Ranald (RC. II, 151 ff., given 
also in Celt. Scot. Ill, appendix i, in translation); for the clans 
supposed to be descended from Colla Uais, see Celt. Scot, index. 

1 167. Inghean Sheumais nan crùn: Catherine, eldest 
daughter of Sir James MacDonald IX of Sleat (Seumas Mor), 
married Sir Norman as his second wife in 1666. Her sister 
Florence was wife of Iain Breac of Harris and Dunvegan. 

" Nan crùn " holds the same idea as is more fully expressed 
in 1. 1209. 



12 16. am Mac Leoid-sa: the reference is certainly to the 
chief, no doubt Norman, to whom the Crònan, who died shortly 
afterwards, before the birth of his son in 1706. Sir Norman, 
in virtue of his age and capacities, naturally held a position 
of great authority in the councils of his clan, especially since 
the death of Sir Roderick of Talisker, the Tutor, in 1675. 

The following version of the Cumha do Shir Tonnod was 
taken down in 1861 from Mairi bheag nighean Domhnaill mhic 
Ruairidh, Ebost, Skye, by Miss Tolmie, and is printed in the 
MacD. Coll., p. 150. It bears clear signs of having been cur- 
tailed and corrupted by oral transmission, though it contains 
some lines that may be closer to the original than the received 
text. The first four verses are in Miss Tolmie's Coll. 

Sàthghal Màiri nighean Alasdair Ruaidh. 

7 ma's fior gun robh e marbh 

Mo shàthghal goirt 

Mar atà mi nochd 

Is mi gun tàmh gun fhois gun sunnd. 

Is mi gun sunnd air stàth. 

Gun mo dhiiil ri bhith slàn, 

Tha mo shùgradh gu bràth air chùl. 

Is ann tha Leòdach mo ghaoil 

'San t-sròl-anart ^ chaoil 

Is gun chomhdach r'a thaobh ach bùird. 

Is e bhith smaointinn ort 

A chràidh mi am chorp 

Is a chnàmh na roisg bho m' shùil. 

Tha Mac Leoid ata ann 

Fo ghruaman 'san am: 

Is beag an t-ioghnadh, 's e chaill an stiuir. 

• " 'San 01 anart," MacD. Coll. 

142 NOTES 

Chain e meamhair air fein 

Nach bu chladhair measg cheud 

Is duine thaghadh na deagh chairt-iuil. 

Chaill e sealgair na frith 
Nach bu chearbach do'n Righ 
Agus seirbhiseach dileas a chrùin. 

Thog na filidh ort sgeul, 
Air na chunnaic iad fein, 
Gun robh eireachdas ceud 'nad ghnùis: 

Gun robh thuigse 'nad ghniomh 
Is de thlachd ann ad bhian 
Nach faca^ mi riamh aig triuir. 

In their note to the above the editors say rather strangely 
that its subject is Roderick, the fifteenth MacLeod of Dun- 
vegan, of whom they say Mary sang, on his death in 1664, 
the fragment printed on p. xxxiii. It is clear that the subject is 
Sir Norman, who died in 1705. 


I. Regular Strophe: (a) ^ Consisting of a phrase of two 
stresses, thrice repeated, and with end-rime, followed by a 
half-phrase containing a rime which is carried throughout 
the poem. The full phrases, which may be stressed on the 
ultimate or the penultimate syllable, sometimes contain 
internal rime, but this is irregular. The poems in this metre 
are: An Talla am bu Ghnàth le Mac Leoid, Crònan an Taibh, 
Cumha do Shir Tormod, Fuigheall. In the first tliree the final 
half-phrase consists of two syllables with the stress on the 
second; in the Fuigheall it consists of three syllables with the 
stress on the first, giving the entire strophe a fine rolling swing 
very different from the mournful effect of the other. 

These are briefly expressed as, e.g.: 

3 (Ri fuaim an taibh) m' àbhaist. 

* " 'N a chunnaic," MacD. Coll. 

' The metre which Mary MacLeod has been wrongly thought to have 

NOTES 143 

{b) Consisting of a phrase of two stresses, six times repeated, 
with end-rime and inconstant internal rime, followed by a 
half-phrase of two syllables with stress on the penultimate 
and carrying its rime throughout the poem. This is found in 
Marbhrann do Fhear na Comraich: 

6 (Tha mise air leaghadh le bròn) èirigh. 

2. Irregular Strophe: (a) Marbhrann do Shir Tormod, 
which contains two types of strophe, (i) a phrase with two 
stresses, the second being on the penultimate syllable, six 
times repeated, with end-rime and usually internal rime, 
followed by a half-phrase of two syllables with one stress on 
the penult and carrying its rime throughout the poem: 
6 (Cha surd cadail) eisdeachd; 

and (2) a phrase of two stresses, the second being on the ulti- 
mate syllable, six to eight times repeated, followed by a half- 
phrase of three syllables with one stress on the penult: 

6-8 (Is trom an cudthrom so dhrùidh) cha tèid mi. 

(Ò) An Crònan, which consists of the type last mentioned, 
the double-stressed phrase being repeated from five to seven 

5-7 (An naidheachd so an dè) ri crònan. 

(c) Marbhrann do Iain Garbh is of the same type, except 
that the final half-phrase is of three or four syllables, with 
stress on the penult or antepenult; but two strophes are of 
the type of Marbhrann do Shir Tormod ( i ) , save that the double- 
stressed phrase is repeated seven and eight times, and is 
followed by a four-syllable half-phrase with one stress: 
5-7 (Mo bheud 's mo chràdh) an Ratharsaidh. 

id) Do Mhac Dhomhnaill. This is a rather unusual metre, 
consisting of a phrase with two chief stresses, the second being 
on the antepenultimate syllable, repeated from four to six 
times, with end-rime and inconstant internal rime, followed 
by a single-stressed phrase in the end-rime, followed in turn 
by a three-syllable phrase stressed on the penult and carrying 
its rime throughout the poem: 

Tha ulaidh orm an wamharrachd 
Mo ghibhte phriseil wasal thu 
(E746) 12 

144 NOTES 

Mo leug bu lionmhor bMfldhan. thu 
Chan fhaigh an Righ ri t'fhwasgladh thu 
Air m'fhocal fior o'n ihuaix mi thu 
Cha tugainn uara air or thu. 

3. Gumha, in the form of quatrains. The structure is one 
of four long Hnes (printed for convenience as eight short Hnes), 
each with four stresses, the second and third stressed words 
riming within each hne, and the final stressed word riming 
throughout the rann. There are three poems in this metre, 
the Cumha do Mhac Leoid, Luinneag do Iain, and Luinneag 
Mhic Leoid. The last is peculiar in its repetition of the final 
line of the rann as the first line of the next rann; " this may 
be regarded as an extension of conchlann, ' a grasp ', a term 
used to denote the repetition of the final word of a rann as 
the first word of the next " [BGh.). 

Ex. (as usual the internal rime is not quite constant): 

Is mi am shuidhe air an twlaich r , 

fo mhMlad 's fo imcheist jc (XM^^cAJ^r 

Is mi ag coimhead air /le 

is ann de m'iongnadh 'san am so 
Bha mi uair nach do shaoil mi 

gus an do chaochail air m'aimsir 
Gun tiginn an taobh so 

dh'amharc Dhiùraidh a Sgarbaidh. 

4. Amhran, in the form of single long lines, printed for 
convenience as a couplet, (a) Each long line has four stresses, 
the second and third stressed words riming, and the final 
stressed word carrying its rime throughout the poem. The 
two examples are M air ear ad nan Cuireid and An t-Eudach. 

Ex.: Tha mo chean air an lasgair, saighdear sgairteil fo 
sgeith thu. 

(&) Pòsadh Mhic Leoid and Tuireadh. Each long line has 
four stresses, and in the Tuireadh the rime of the last stressed 
syllable is continued throughout the poem. In the Pòsadh 
the rime of the last stressed syllable is changed frequently. 

y (X^^^^^ 

NOTES 145 


1 61 3 Sir Roderick Mor of Harris and Dun vegan knighted. 

1626 Sir Roderick Mor died. 

1646 Roderick Mackenzie of Applecross died; Marbhrann do 
Fhear na Comraich, Mary MacLeod's earliest poem of 
certain date. 

1648 Iain Garbh mac Ghille Chaluim of Raasay served heir 

to liis father. 

1649 John of Harris and Dunvegan, Iain Mor, fourteenth 

chief, died. 

1650 Charles II landed in Scotland. 

1 65 1 Battle of Inverkeithing; Battle of Worcester. 

1653 Norman of Bemera dispatched to Charles in France. 

1654 (July) Battle at Loch Garry. 

1655 Roderick of Harris and Dunvegan, fifteenth chief, 

accepted protection of Cromwell. 

1659 Norman of Bernera dispatched to court of Denmark. 

1660 The Restoration; Norman of Bernera and Roderick of 

Talisker knighted. 
1664 Roderick of Harris and Dunvegan, Ruairidh Sgaiteach, 

1666 Sir Norman of Bernera married Catherine, d. of Sir 
James MacDonald of Sleat. Mr. James Fraser's 
Polichronicon (The Wardlaw Manuscript) begun. 

1 67 1 Iain Garbh mac Ghille Chaluim of Raasay drowned at 
sea; Marbhrann do Iain Garbh. 

1675 Sir Roderick of Talisker died. 

1688 Battle of Mulroy (Maol Ruadh in Lochaber) fought 

between the Mackintoshes of Moy and CoUa nam bo 
of Keppoch; the last clan battle. 

1689 Battle of Killiecrankie (Cath Raon Ruairidh). 

1693 John of Harris and Dunvegan, Iain Breac, sixteenth 
chief, died; succeeded by his son Roderick. 

146 NOTES 

1699 Roderick of Harris and Dunvegan, seventeenth chief, 
died; Cumha do Mhac Leoid; succeeded by Norman; 
An Crònan. 

1705 Sir Norman of Bernera died; Marbhrann do Shir 
Tormod; Cumha do Shir Tormod, Mary MacLeod's 
last poem of certain date. 

1 71 5 Battle of Sheriff muir. 

171 8 Sir Donald MacDonald of Sleat, Domhnall a' Chogaidh, 
to whom " Do Mhac Dhomhnaill" , died. 


after the number of the line refers to a footnote on the tex . 

acain, 871, /. bemoaning, la- 

adharc, 457, /. horn for holding 

àghmhor, 570, prosperous, for- 
tunate; 1 143, magnificent. 

aigeanntach, 171, form of aige- 
annach, spirited, mettlesome. 

àiUeagan, 177, 225, m. jewel; 
metaph. handsome maji; often 
used as a term of affection for 
a child. 

àiUteachd, 546, /. beauty, ex- 
cellence; form of ailleachd. 

àilt, 1 103, noble, stately. 

aineol, 605, unacquaintance, 
want of knowledge ; air 
m'aineol, in a land I know 
not; opposed to air m'eòlas. 
" Shiubhail mi cian leat air 
m'eòlas, Agus spailp de'n 
stròic air m'aineol" (Alex. 
MacDonald); 1130, fear aineoil, 

aiteam, 786, m. and /. folk, 

aitreabh, 247, /. dwelling, resi- 
dence (elsewhere masc). 

àlach, 738, m. race, family. 

alladh, 147, fame, renown, 
whence foil. 

allail, 719, illustrious, renowned. 

aoidh, 1 131, m. stranger, guest. 

araichd, 921, precious thing ac- 
quired, godsend, boon; same 
as Ir. aireag, O.Ir. airec, in- 
vent io. 

àrbhuidhe, 531, for òrbhuidhe, 

àrmunn, 736, 1105, m. hero, 

àros, 759, m. dwelUng, mansion. 

bàdhadh, 268, act of sinking 
deeply in. 

balg, 472, m. quiver; generally, 
a bag. 

ball, 900, m. part of rigging, 
rope; 1064, stud, nail or boss. 

banchag, 373, /. a woman cow- 
herd, dairymaid. 

barrdhias, 462, /. point of a 
sword {bàrr, dias). 

basbhuailte, 1161; bean bh., a 
woman who claps her hands 
(in grief); old gen. of basbhua- 
ladh, hand-clapping, used as 

basgheal, 370, white of palm, 

batail, 1229, Eng. battle. 

bean-mhuinntir, 687, /. maid- 

beart, 654,/. deed; 1128, sword- 

beòshlaint, 80, /. livelihood, 

bian, pi. bèln, 302, m. skin, 

biùthas, 963, m. glory, reputa- 

bleidean, 65, m. wheedler, ca- 
joler, importunate bothersome 

boinne, m. drop; 1043, a meta- 
phor for beauty of form and 
colour; cf. "Is i (Deirdire) 
boimie-fala bu chaoine cruth ", 

' c/. ,;.-. -Ui.'tw.^ ,-'c(«^*>-^K K** 


" (Deirdire) was the blood- 
drop of finest form". — Deirdire 
(Dr. Alexander Cannichael) , 
p. 24. 
bonn, 1 196, m. coin. 
bòrd, 25, perhaps a tack in sail- 
ing; cf. bòrd, to tack, bòrdadh, 
tacking (Dw.); Ir. bdrd, space 
advanced by a boat in two 
tacks (Dinn.); see note; 227 
board (of coffin) ; 335 board (of 
boat), gunwale. 
bradan, 221 n. sweUing on the 
skin, ridgy tumour on the 
surface of the body. — Dw. 
brèid, 592, ììi. three-cornered 
kertch or coif formed of a 
square of fine linen, worn by 
married women; gen., piece 
of cloth, sail, from which foil. 
brèidgheal, 176, 1159, white- 
brioghalachd, 928, /. juiciness, 

fullness of sap. 
buadh, 910, /. virtue, quahty, 

excellence, whence foil. 
buadhail, 924, full of good quali- 
ties, excellent. 
buadhalach, 874, same meaning 

as buadhail. 
buaidh-ghlòireach, 895, choice- 
worded, of choice speech. 
buaireadh, 564, m. disturbance, 

provocation, temptation. 
buannachd, 299, /. mainten- 
ance, emolument. 
buinneag, 144, /. lass, young 

buirb, 1 146 (better buirbe) 

rudeness, arrogance. 
busdubh, 88, black-muzzled; 
bus, a muzzle, snout, mouth. 

caidreabh, 11 78, m. society, 
companionship . 

càil, 68, /. appetite, desire; c. 
chomhraidh, a desire for con- 

càileachd, 549, /. genius, natu- 
ral endowment, disposition. 

cainbe, 466, /. hemp. 

cairbinn, 464, carbine. 

cairt-iuil, 1221, /. mariner's 

caisfhionn, 366, white-footed. 

caismeachd, 1082, /. corre- 
sponding to Ir. caismirt; mean- 
ing, inter alia, " a discussion ": 
hence, theme of story-telling. 

caith, 496, traverse, speed over. 

caithreamach, 636, of joyful 
or victorious noise; caithream, 
joyful or warlike noise, shout 
of victory. 

calg, 488, m. bristle, short stifE 

carantach, 817, affectionate, 

carantas, 823, m. affection; c. 
fuar, a proverbial phrase. 

carthannach, 655, same mean- 
ing as carantach. 

ceannard, 1126, high-headed. 

ceannas, 400, m. authority; 
236, (concrete) chief. 

ceannsgalach, 814, authorita- 
tive, masterful. 

ceann-uidhe, 631, m. end of a 
journey, objective. 

ceartachadh, 838, m. adjust- 
ment, putting to rights. 

ceir, 264, 936, /. wax; 489, a 
deer's buttock, whence foil. 

cèirgheal, 284, 245 n., white- 

ceòsach, 96, big-rumped. 

ceumnach, 985, pacing, with 
stately pace. 

ceudfaidh, 542, /. sense, mental 

chugaibh, 105, away with you, 
avaunt; (chum, chun, in pro- 
nominal compound, 2nd. pi. 
"The combination is based on 
the analogy of agam &c.," 
Dinn.) A worse spelhng is 
thugaibh &c., from thun (phone- 
ciodh, 13, 17, what is? 
cios, 945, 1 156,/. tax, tribute. 
ciosail, 956, exacting tribute, 

rich in tributes. 
ciste, 203, /. box; 11 18, dat. 
cistidh, cofi&n. 

tt4Uv lOM'l 

ctuuiXvw 77/ 

'HÀJÌ'\^\. SS^ 



clannfhalt, 1129, m. clustering 
hair (clann in the sense of a 
lock of hair). 

cliar, 248 n., 526, 751, /. com- 
pany or train of bards, poetic 

cliaranach, 1024, m. bard, min- 
strel, one of a cliar. 

clisgeadh, 583, m. act of start- 
ling, alarming. 

cluasag, 584, /. pillow. 

cneadh, 619,/. wound, hurt. 

coigeamh, 1158, m. province, 
ht. a fifth part. 

coisionta, 781, industrious, over- 
coming, hardy. 

colg, 798, m. wrath, fierce aspect. 

conbhail, 1059, older form of 
cumail, holding; Ir. congbhdil. 

còraichean, 669, pi. of coir, f. 
rightful possessions, property; 

corn, 242, 1 151, m. drinking- 

cosgail, 780, lavish. Liberal. 

corran, 269, m. small tapering 

corrbheann, 1150, with taper- 
ing points or corners {còrr, 
beann, a horn). 

cràdhghal, 1186, m. painful 

crann, 792, 876, 899, m. mast; 
264, arrow. 

croc, 284, /. deer's antler. 

cròdha, 1093, valiant. 

crodhanta, 18Ò, strong-hoofed, 
strongly shod; crodha, crudha, 
horse-shoe, hoof; crodhan, a 
parted hoof. 

crònan, 725, m. crooning, hum- 

crùidheach, 1126, well-shod. 

crùist, 1227, /. burial-vault; 
form of crùidse, cridsle. 

crùintidh, 1133, pi. of crùn. 

crùn, 1 167, 1209, m. crown 
piece; 1224, the Crown. 

cuachag, 1046, /. small curl, 

cuailean, 150, m. lock of hair, 

cuairt, 780, /. a circuit, progress, 
here a circuit of bards. 

cùil, 1075, /. store-house, closet; 
see note. 

cuilbhir, 1037, m. gun, fowling- 

cùinneadh, 1182, m. wealth; 

cuireid, 121, /. trick, prank, 

CÙ1, 149, 454, 1045, 1 129, m. 
hair of the back of the head, 
then in general, the hair, 

cumasg, 192, m. fray, tumul- 
tuous battle. 

curanta, 189, 290, 1231, heroic 
{curaldh, hero). 

cuspair, 259, m. mark, target. 

dalta, 1 160, m. foster-child. 

daoiread, 470, m. dearness 
{daor); air and., despite their 
dearness, however dear they 

daonnachdach, 655, liberal, 

daonnairceach, 1053, same 
meaning as daonnachdach. 

dearbhta,4i8, 715; dearbhtha, 
800, 889, 926, proven, tried, 
certain; past part, of dear- 
bhaim, I prove, show. 

dearcag, 448, /. small berry; 
d. na talmhainn, blaeberry. 

dèidh, 670, /. fondness, eager- 

deinead, 620, /. keenness. 

diobhail, 246, 312,/. loss, want. 

diol, 733, m. act of draining (a 

dòigh, 188, m. likelihood; air 
dh. buille, by reason of the 
likeUhood of being smitten; 
640, manner, method, wont. 

dolaidh, 577, /. defect, injury. 

don-faighneachd, 15, 27, d. ort, 
" evil of asking upon you, a 
plague on your asking "; cf. 
dcni-bidh, dìth-bìdh, don-dòchais 
(BGh. vocab.). 




duaismhor, 769, liberal, boun- 

dùth, 773, natural, hereditary, 
befitting one's ancestors and 

eagas, 245 n.; eagasg, 1098, 
m. form of aogas, counten- 
ance, appearance. 

ealadh,63i, 1131,/. song, music, 
artistic production; liichd 
ealaidh, minstrels. 

ealchainn, 456, /. rack for 

earras, 594, m. wealth, pro- 

cineach, 574, m. honour; gener- 
osity; lit., face, countenance. 

eireadh, 235, form of eire, 
burden. (Given as èire(adh) 
in some Sc. Gael, dictt., but 
e is short.) 

eirthir, 14,/. sea-coast. 

èis, 188, /. delay, hindrance. 

èisg, 130, /. satirist, reviler. 

eislean, 606, m. debility, grief. 

eòlas, 864, /. knowledge of, or 
familiarity with, the way. 

faiche, 342, /. an exercising 
green or parade ground near a 
house; generally, a green. 

faicheil, 837, of martial appear- 

faiteal, 164, breath; speech. 

falluing, 490, /. garment, cloak. 

fantalach, 778, lasting, endur- 

farspach, no, /. blackbacked 

feachd, 984, 990, m. warlike 
expedition, host. 

fearrdhris, 450, /. red wild rose, 

feòlach, 44, m. carnage. 

fìabhras, 581, m. fever, feverish 

fiadhach, 1034, m. hunting of 

fireun, 473, m. eagle. 

fiùran, 155, 771, 816, 881, 961, 
m. handsome youth; lit. sapling; 

cf. craobh, gasan, slat, sonn, 
all used by Mary MacLeod 
metaphorically of persons. 

flathail, 1023, princely, noble. 

fLathasach, 307, 1103, same 
meaning as flathail. 

foidearachd, 940, pastime, ac- 
cording to MacNicol (Hender- 

foirm, 987, m. noise, outcry; /. 
air fheumalachd, a cry of need 
for service. 

foirmeil, 522, 697, 753, stately, 
magnificent; foirm, form, 

foirmeileach, 885, same mean- 
ing as foirmeil, above. 

fòirneart, 708, 783, 819 n., m. 
force, violence. 

foistinneach, 573, calm, sedate. 

folachd, 409, 579, noble lineage, 
noble blood (ii om fuil, blood). 

fonn, 878, m. tune, air. 

fraoidhneiseach, 943, fringed, 

freasdal, 253, m. waiting on, 
attending; ann am f. gach 
duine, in serving every man, 
in attending to his needs or 
requests; cf. 11 15-7. 

fuasgladh, 11 15, m. act of 
solving, explication. 

furbhail teach , 1053, courteous, 

gàbhaidh, 507, dangerous, peril- 
ous; gen. of gàbhadh used as 

gabhail, 274,/. carriage, bearing, 

gàinne, 269, /. arrow-head. 

gàir, n6o, /. shout, cry. 

gàirich, 760, /. roaring noise. 

gaiseadh, 262 n., m. blemish, 

gar, 663, 691, 715, although 
(regularly changed to ged in 
SO.); more often gar an, 
though not. 

gàrd, 947, m. Eng. guard. 

garbhghlac, 482, /. rough 

^AtC'Uvv lUH- 





gàrlach, 132, m. starveling 
child, bastard, term of con- 

gèadh, 296, ni. wild goose. 

gealbhrèideach, 957, white- 

geall, 347, m. pledge, promise, 

glac, 261,/. quiver; 47i,ahand- 
ful of arrows, dòrlach; 1058, 
hollow of a saddle. 

glaisean, 112, m. finch, Unnet, 

glas-ghuib, 115, /. muzzle, 
gag to prevent speech. 

gleadhraich, 242, /. loud rat- 
tling noise. 

gleus, 204, m. and /. possibly 
the key of the harp, usu. 
crann; if so, cf. 1075 n.; 1088, 
fighting trim, activity; gaisge 
gleois, valour of action. 

gleusta, 287, trim, accomplished, 
pohshed, deft; 879, tuneful; 
1035, trim, in order, eager. 

gniomh, 764, m. handiwork; 
elsewhere, a deed of prowess. 

gradan, 221, ni. pain, bitter 
sorrow, anguish; cf. greadan, 
Ir. greadan, heat, torture, etc. 

greadhnach, 172, majestic, mag- 

greis, 283, 895, /. space of 
time, spell; 513, a ghreis fein, 
the world's (or possibly his) 
o-wn spell (of prosperity and 
adversity in turn); cf. " Fear 
gun da la, fear gun la idir ". 

gruag, 453, 531, /. head of hair. 

iartnad, 1028, m. offspring, 

innis, 295, /. haunt of seals, 
i.e. the sea; 755, haunt, haven 
or resting-place of poets; (cf. 
rod nan cliar, anchorage of 
poets, BGh. vocab.); both 
from the meaning " pasture, 
resting-place for cattle ". 

iotnadaidh, 828, /. great quan- 
tity, abundance. 

iotnalrt, 827, 1232, /. contest,! 


conflict; 902,, bustle? gaming? 
iomall, 143, m. refuse; dubh i. 

na tuatha, the very dregs of 

the population. 
iomartas, 560, m. affairs, bustle, 

iomsgaradh, 232, m. mutual 

separation, sad parting; O. 

Ir. imm-scarad (Windisch); 

see also tiomsgaradh. 
ion, 607, fit, befitting, proper. 
irghinn, 165, /. dialectic form of 

inghinn, dat. of inghean {nigh- 

ean), used as nom. (Dw. mis- 
spells ireann). 
isneach, 464, /. rifled gun. 
iùl, 862, m. bearings, landmark, 

course (of a ship); 11 34, 

knowledge, guidance. 

làmh-sgiath, 941 n., /. hand- 
shield, targe. 

làmh-sgrìobhtha, 941 n., m. 
hand -writing; (old gen. of 
sgriobhadh) . 

lànmhor, 537, complete, per- 

lapach, 1230, slow and awkward, 
soft; meata. 

làrach, 125, /. house, dwelling; 
site of a dwelling. 

lasadh, 530, m. flush, kindhng 
of the face (not here of anger) . 

lasan, 11 16, sudden kindUng, 

lasgair, 601, m. fine young man. 

leannan, lover, sweetheart, 271, 
632, m. (figuratively) one 
given to, one who constantly 

leigeadh, 764, m. act of letting 
run, broaching. 

leac, 1123, /. grave-stone, slab. 

leòmach, 66. 98, conceited, pert. 

leug, 910, m. precious stone, 

ligeadh, 75, form of leigeadh, 

q.v. \ 

linn, 535, /. brood, family; cf. = L 
" deireadh linne, the youngest of 
a family. 

liobhraigeadh, 1196, m. act of 



delivering, bestowing (based 
on Eng. deliver). 

lionsgaradh, 794, m. resources 
(in a very wide sense) ; cf . Rosg 
Gàidhlig p. 136, where lians- 
garaidh means genealogy, ex- 
traction. Mr. John N. Macleod 
gives examples of the idiom- 
atic use of this word: ììach 
ami aice {aige) tha an L, 
applied to a gossip who re- 
turns from a ceilidh with all 
the goileam of the place; to 
a minister who has much free- 
dom in preaching; to a man 
thoroughly versed in any 
sphere. This sense may be 
defined as " a wide range, a 
wide field of operations," 
and seems appropriate in Alex. 
Macdonald 's Aoir Eile do Bhan- 
bhàrd an Obain (1924 ed. p. 
336). The word is sometimes 
used in the sense of scattering, 
e.g. of sheep on a hillside. 

lòisdean, 636, m. lodging, resi- 
dence; Ir. Idiste, lodge, booth; 
entertainment. Or poss. a 
form of lòiseam, pomp, mag- 
nificent assemblage: " gum 
b'uallach do lòiseam, T. 54, 
explained in a footnote " a 
great company of gentry ". 

lomhainn, 1035, /. leash of 

luachach, 862, precious, excel- 
lent; mor luachach forms a 
noun, " that man of great 
worth ". 

luaimneach, 1042, restless, a- 

lùb, 182, /. young man, carried 
on in 183 as a scion, shoot. 

macaomh, 241, 748, m. goodly 
youth, gallant; mac (adjec- 
tival), caomh (used as noun), 
lit. a lad dear one. 

tnacnas, 378, 1068, m. sport, 
mirthfulness, whence foil. 

macnasach, 240, sportive, 

mairg, 184, 505, 993, /. object 
of pity; is mairg an duine, 
woe to the man. 

maith, 994, n. a noble; mith is 
maith, peasant and noble, 
gentle and simple (Alex. Mac- 

màl, 1 147, m. payment, sub- 

malairt, 724, /. change (from 
sickness to health); 1133, 
exchange, barter. 

mànran, 238, 519, m. tuneful 
sound, melody. 

maothar, 12 19, coll. noun; the 
young, the tender; m. na 
treuda, the young of the flock 

marbh, 438, sgeul marbh, either 
" news of thy death ", lit. 
" a dead tale of thee "; cf. 
marbhrann: or " news that 
thou art inactive"; cf. fuar- 
scèal, a dead or uninteresting 
story (Dinneen). 

marcanta, 202, m. horseman, 

mathasach, 1052, benevolent, 
benign, or perhaps " giving 
without condition "; cf. Ir. 

meachar, loii, tender, kindly. 

meadhrach, 240, 939, cheerful, 
merry, festive. 

meadhrachail, 1052, same 
meaning as meadhrach. 

mindearg, 179, smooth and 

mingheal, 160, smooth and 

miosair, 457, m. measure for 
powder; Ir. miosùr 

mod, 102, m. court of justice, 

moltair, 1005, /. mill-dues. 

mordha, 701, noble, great. 

mordhalach, 569, magnificent, 

morghail, 1149, sea -prowess, 
sea - fighting; {mor-, composi- 
tional form of muir, gal, gail, 



mucag, 450, /. berry of the dog 

neo-chrion, 545, liberal, abun- 

neo-èisleanach, 265, not feeble, 
strong, sound. 

neo-mhalairteach, 626, not 
changeable, reidh. 

neul, 260, 1087, m. hue, com- 

nuallanach, 502, loud-sounding, 

nur, 629, dialectic form of bhur, 

òè» 873, m. young man (adj. 

used as noun). 
òircheard, 764, m. goldsmith. 
oireachd, 682, /. gathering, 

assembly; usually eireachd in 

Sc. Gael, but here the other 

is required by the rime; Ir. 

òirleach, 268, /. inch. 
Olgharach, 521, of the race of 

òrd, 257, ni. hammer, dog-head 

of a gun, which strikes fire 

from the flint. 
orghan, 743, 1152, m. organ. 

paidirean, 51, w. rosary. 

pàirt, 830, /. kindred, relation- 

pic, 345, /. bow; cf. Pol Crùbach: 
" Agus pic mheallach Air a 
tarruing chluais gu dòrn." 

pios, 34, 762, 887, 906, 938, 
1 157, m. silver vessel, cup. 

pràmhan, 237 n. heaviness, 

prasgan, 106, 965, m. rabble, 
gang, group of people. 

preasan, 922, w. little bush or 

purpais, 551, in. theme; Eng. 

ranntannan, 671, pi. of ramit 
m. partisan, supporter, ally; 
from rann, a part, division. 

— Dw. coins " title-deeds, deeds 
of conveyance; chattels ". 

reachdmhor, 1106, command- 
ing, authoritative, puissant; Ir. 
reachimhar, legislative, giving 
laws; from reacht, law, power, 

riarachadh, 80, loio, m. act of 

riaraich, 580, serve, distribute. 

rèidhlean, 596, m. green level 
plain, lawn for games, etc. 

rod, 295 n., perhaps has the 
sense of a " quantity of sea- 
ware cast on the shore " 
— Dw.; but ran is the correct 

rògach, 98, roguish; from Eng. 

rònach, 62, full of seals. 

ruaimneach, 770, glossed in E., 

" làidir "; robust, active. 

ruiteach, 260, 449, ruddy. 

sàradh, 763, m. act of broaching. 

sealbh, 478, m. prosperity, good 
fortune; 745, possession, en- 

seòd, 336, 1 153, m. man of ?^ 
valour, warrior; form of seud. f ■ L— -. 

seòlaid, 498, /. harbour, an- 

sgannal, 142, m. scandal, 

sgeilm, 251, /. boasting, vain 

sgleò, 160, 1090, m. boasting; 
1090, vapour, mistiness, dim- 
ness of the eyes; cf. " na 
rioghbhrugh ni h-aisling 61", 
in his Idngly mansion drinking 
is no dream ; — RC, II, 286 
(BGh.) and in Eng., " not 
with umbrages, but a substan- 
tiall entertainment " (Ward- 
law MS., p. 482). 

sgòid-bhràghad, 93, /. square 
neck-kerchief, stomacher. 

sibhrainn, 195 n., m. ? 

siothshaimh, 425, 11 36,/. peace, 

slacan, 344, m. bludgeon, club, 


slàn, 562, m. defiance, challenge 
(see note); " I defy Gael or 
Saxon (to show) that deceit 
was found on you." (BGh), so 
dubh-shlàn, dùbhlan, defiance. 

slat, 766, /. wand, rod; metaph. 
handsome youth. 

sligeadh, 75 n., m. " drinking 
from shells ". — Dw. quoting 
this passage; but ?; ligeadh 
is the correct reading. 

smeoirn, 269, /. butt end of 
arrow, notch to fit the bow- 

so-iarraidh, 415, easy to ascer- 

solta, 567, vigorous, comely. 

sonn, 879, m. post, stake; 
hence, stalwart man, cham- 
pion, sonn catha. 

spealp, 308, m. active trim 
young man. 

spreadhadh, 326, m. report of 
a gun, loud sound of burst- 

spreigeadh, 41, m. act of 
playing briskly and spiritedly; 
so Ir. spreagadh. 

sròl, 1080, m. satin; 904, pi. 
sròiltean, 792, 876, satin pen- 
non, or possibly sail. 

staoidhle, 690, 933, m. title, 
style; the passive of the verb 
is found in 700. 

stàth, 1 189, m. good purpose or 
end, benefit, advantage. 

stòpa, 78, m. stoup, flagon. 

stròicte, 46, hacked, sundered, 

stròth, 245 n., m. extravagance. 

sùgh, 138, m. juice, broth. 

susbaint, 552, 1192, /. sub- 

tabh, 499, m. ocean. (Norse haf, 
n. the high sea, ocean); used 
by Alex. MacDonald, and still 
in Harris and Barra for the 
open sea, the Atlantic, op- 
posed to An Cuan, the Minch. 
The outermost rock of the 
Flannan Isles is Sgeir an 

Taibh (A. Nicolson); Camus 
cùil an Taibh is on the west 
side of lona. 

taifeid, 266, 466, /. bowstring. 

tàileasg, 229, 279 (in pi.), m. 
chess or backgammon. 

tarruing, 900, /. halyard. 

tasgadh, 1162, m. act of bestow- 
ing, burying. 

tasgaidh, 523, 646, 914, /. what 
is bestowed, deposit, treasure; 
1078, bestowal; 218, in sense 
of tasgadh. 

teach, 525, m. house, mansion. 

teanal, 526, m. gathering; form 
of tional. 

teannachadh, 901, m. act of 
holding close to the wind. 

tearbadh, 440, m. separation. 

teist, 252, /. repute, fame. 

teud, 152, m. fiddle-string; 203, 
harp (Armstrong); 550, harp- 

teudbhuidhe, 1046, 11 29, yel- 
low as harp-strings, which 
were gold-gilt (BGh.); yellow- 

tigheadas, 833, m. household. 

tiomsgaradh, 232 n., given as 
" a parting for time " (ttom, 
sgaradh) in a paper on " Some 
Rare Gaelic Words and 
Phrases " by Alex. Mac- 
Donald, Trans. Gael. Soc. 
Invss. xxix, 30. Question- 
able. \). lff^_^^4A.adA 

togbhail, 738, older form of 
togail, raising, rearing; Ir. 

toisgeal, 37, left, opposed to 
deas; (?als o right, opp. to cearr'. '*'**• 
cf. " Is mairg . . . thig- 
eadh cearr no toisgeal air,"Su/Ki,'' 

S. 235). ^- ^ ^ ^ 

tolg, 581, /. pride, ostentation. 
tonn-bhàidhte, 355, /. a wave 
that drowns, ht. a wave of 
drowning; bàidhte, old gen. of 
verb, noun bàdhadh. 
tòrachd, 42, 790,/. pursuit. 
treas- tarruing, 77, /. thrice- 
distilled whisky; foreshot. 

ioeu^lAe^M lot+'i 



trusgan, 86, m. garment, 

clothes, mantle. 
tuam, tuama, 660, 691, m. 

tomb, grave. 
tuath, 143, 779, /. people of a 

country, population, peas- 
tuathcheathaim, 868, m. f. 

tenantry, peasantry'. 
tuigsear, 550, m. one who 

understands, a connoisseur. 
tuilg, 581, see tolg. 
tuisleach, 258, unsteady, fal- 

turaideach, 754, turreted. 
turnais, 11 32, a job, a smart 

turn (Skye). (BGh. Vocab.) 

uabharra, 877, prideful, 

uatnharrachd, 908, /. lit. fright- 

fulness; excessiveness, excessive 

measure; " I have a treasure . 

great exceedingly." ^m^A /«^ 

uidh, 1 142, /. journey, way. —TlALsi 

ulrghioU, 254, m. speech, the ^ -1 
faculty of speech. 

ulaidh, 908, /. treasure, especi- 
ally a treasure lit upon more 
or less unexpectedly. (BGh. 

urla, 1047, /. face, counten- 

urrainn, 1233, m. guarantee, 
authority, security; whence 
the ordinary usage, " is ur- 
rainn mi ", etc. " Thy nobi- 
lity is no longer my security." 

ursainn-chatha, 835,/. pillar of 
battle, a conspicuous hero. 

ursgeul, 283, m. tale, narrative, 
1 194, act of narrating. 

usgar, 90, m. jewel. 




n. after the number of the line refers to the general notes. 

an Aird, 825 n. 

Alba, 416, 424, 999 n.i 

Albannach, 304 

an Apuinn, gen. na h-Apunn, 705 n.- 

Arcs, 90s n. 

ban-Ileach, 583, title, 607 
am Bealach, 950 n.' 
Boirbhe, Baile na, 699 n. 
Braid Albann, 950.' 
Breacachadh, 840 n. 
Bròlas, 840 n. 

an Caiptein Mùideartach, 960 n. 
Calum, 148 
Camshronaich, 953 
Cathanach, Iain, 990 n. 
U.«**» Ceann-tire, 703 n., 992 n.^ 
,f Ceann tSàil, 826 n. 

Clalin Chamshroin, 679. 
Clann Choinnich, 68 1 n. 
Clann Domhnaill, 674 n. 
Clann Fhionghain, 967 n. 
Clann Raghnaill, 674. 
Clann Ruairidh, 433 n., 537. 
Cnòideart, 678, 824.^ 
Colla, 952 n. 
Colla (Uais), 1 155 n. 
na Collanan, 956 n. 
a' Chomraich, 172 n.* 
Comraich, Fear na, 153, title, n. 
Connacht, 1158. 

Diarmaid, 59 n. 

Diùraidh, 394 n.^ 

Domhnall (Germ Mdr), 100 n., 12c 

Donihnall, Sir (XI of Sleat), 812 n 

Dubhghlasaich, 977 n. 

iSee CPNS. 

''See Macbain's Place-Names of the Highlands and Islands. 

an Dun, Dun Bheagain, 48, 386, 

Dùn-tuilm, 582, 935 n.'' 
Dùthaich Mhic Leoid, 861 n. 

an t-Eilean, 26 n. 
Eiphit, 630. 
Eire, 417 n., 984. 

Fear na Comraich, 153, title, n. 
an Fhiann, 283. 
Fionn, 58. 
Fionnairigh, 593 n. 
Fionnghal n. Lachainn, 371. 
an Fhraing, 846. 
Frisealaich, 973. 

Gàidheal, 562, 809. 

Gailbhinn, 474 n. 

Gall, 562, 843. 

na Garbhchriochan, 951.* 

Glaic Fhionnlaigh, 185 n. 

Gleann Garadh, 677 n., 820, 951.^ 

Gleann Shealtainn, 108 n. 

GoU, 60 n. 

Granndaich, 973. 

na Hearadh, 690 n.^ 
Hiort (St. Kilda), 63.1 

Iain Breac, 641 n. 

Iain Cathanach, 990 n. 

Iain Garbh mac Ghille Chaluim, 

285, title n., 331. 
Iain mac Shir Tormoid, 1004, title 

n., 1049. 
Iain M6r, 990 n. 
larla Antruim, 985 n. 
larla Chlann Domhnaill, 216 n. 



larla Earra-Ghàidhealach, 948. 
larla He, 704 n. 
larla Rois, 704, n. 
Inbhir Lòchaidh, 680. 
Inghean Sheumais, 1167 n. 

Latharna, 992 n.^ 

Leathanach, an dream, 991. 
jw^Leòdach, Tlr nan, 118. 
'»'Linne na Ciste, 599 n. 

Lòchaidh, 953. 

Lochlann (Scandinavia), 413 n. 

Lunnainn, 627. 

Mac Aoidh, 954. 
Mac Coinnich, 7, 

24, 681 n., 826 n., 


^(j9 Mac Dhomhnaill, 91 

Mac Feilim, 986 n. ^ 

Mac Fhionghain, 9. 

Mac Ghille Eathain, 675, 832 n. 

Mac Iain Stiùbhairt, 705 n. 

Mac Leoid, 8, 33, 113, 239 n., 281, 
609, title n., 861, 872 n., 903, 
1079, 1216 n. 
t, Mac mhic Ailein, Sign. 

' Mac Muire, 294. 

Mac Shimidh, 825 n. 

Mairearad nan cuireid, 121. 

Mairearad nic an Tòisich, i n. 

Màiri, II. 

Manainn, 696 n.' 

Mànus, 567 n. 

Morair Tairbeirt, 949 n. 

Nighean oighre Dhùn-tuilm, 582 n. 
Nighean larla Chlann Domhnaill, 
216 n. 

Ochraidh (gen.), 698 n. 

Oisean, 58 n. 

Olghar 698, 791 n., 875, 1148. 

Olgharach, 521 n. 

Osgar, 60 n. 

Pàdraig (Mac Cruimein), 504 n. 
Paris, 627. 

Ratharsaidh, 289, 331.^ 

Roinn Eòrpa, 638. 

Ros 704.1 

Rothaich, 974. 

Ruairidh mor MacLeoid, 375 n., 

433 n-. 537. 7i9. 807 n., 1106 n., 

Ruairidh (na Comraich), 153, title 

n., 171. 
Ruairidh òg MacLeoid, 33 n., 47. 

Sgarbaidh, 357, title, 394^ 

Siol Airt, 955 n. 

Siol ChoUa, 1155 n. 

Siol Chormaic, 955 n. 

Siol Chuinn, 955 n. 

Siol Leoid, 70. 

Siol Torcuill, 966. 

Siol Tormoid, 884. 

Sir Tormod, 249, 399, 520, 1025, 

1065, title n., 1 186, title. 
Skite, 812." 
an Srath, 967. 
Stiùbhartaich, 707. 

Tairbeart, 949^ 
an Tir Leòdach, 864. 
Tir nan Leòdach, 118. 
Trondairnis, 83 n.^ 

Uilbhinnis, 365 n. 

' See CPNS. 

'■ See Macbain's Place-Names o/ the Highlands and Islands. 

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